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Nimble move

Nimbus and Celgene go in for TYK and STING

Celgene Corp.’s deal with Nimbus Therapeutics LLC is another vote of confidence that Nimbus’ computational drug design technology can solve druggability problems that trip up standard medicinal chemistry. The partnership gives Celgene access to two promising but problematic autoimmune disease targets: TYK2 and STING.

In the partnership announced Oct. 3, Celgene agreed to pay Nimbus an upfront undisclosed fee to help fund the two programs through clinical proof of concept, at which point Celgene has an option to acquire each program for an additional fee. Nimbus is also eligible for milestones. Financial details are not disclosed.

Rupert Vessey, Celgene’s EVP and president of global research and early development, told BioCentury the Nimbus team will take the programs into the clinic to generate initial evidence of biological and clinical activity, and Celgene would be responsible for further development.

The partnership marks the fouther therapeutics deal for Nimbus, whose business model is to house its programs in separate subsidiaries for the express purpose of making them easier to sell off early in the development process.

Its earlier deals included a clinical stage program from its Nimbus Apollo Inc. subsidiary, sold to Gilead Sciences Inc. in 2016; a preclinical IRAK4 program from its Nimbus Iris Inc. subsidiary licensed to the Genentech Inc. unit of Roche in 2015, and a 2013 option deal with Shire plc to develop small molecules against an undisclosed target to treat lysosomal storage diseases.

The Gilead deal involved a portfolio of ACAC inhibitors for liver diseases, including

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