Abide Therapeutics Inc.'s option deal with Celgene Corp. gives it several years to validate its serine hydrolase platform. Should Celgene opt to license ex-U.S. rights to Abide's lead inflammation programs rather than buy the company - or even if Celgene does neither - Abide will come away with a more mature platform and a head start on a handful of programs.

Alan Ezekowitz, president and CEO of Abide, said the deal with Celgene and one from last year with Merck & Co. Inc. allow the biotech to focus on optimizing and validating its technology while avoiding the distraction of raising more money.