Celgene is buying autoimmune disease therapeutics firm Delinia for $300 million upfront to expand its own inflammation and immunology pipeline with Delinia's lead preclinical-stage regulatory T cell (Treg) therapy. Delinia shareholders could receive another $475 million from Celgene in future development, regulatory, and commercial milestones. The transaction is expected to close during Q1 2017.

Delinia lead candidate DEL106 is an interleukin-2 (IL-2) mutein Fc fusion protein that acts as a Treg IL-2 receptor agonist. The protein is designed to upregulate Tregs and so restore immune system balance. Delinia suggests DEL106 could potentially be used to treat a range of autoimmune diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Delinia is headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and has research operations in San Francisco, CA. In September 2016, the firm raised $35 million in a Series A round of financing. Commenting on the proposed Delinia buyout, Celgene president of research and early development, Rupert Vessey, FRCP, D.Phil., said clinical development of DEL106 could start during 2018. “Delinia is at the forefront of advancing new approaches to treating patients with severe and debilitating autoimmune diseases,” he said in a statement. “We are delighted to enter into this transaction with Celgene,” added Saurabh Saha, M.D., Ph.D., Delinia CEO. “Their expanding inflammation and immunology franchise and strong commitment to scientific innovation makes them an ideal company to continue to move DEL106 forward.”

Celgene separately reported Q4 2016 net product sales of $2.977 billion, up 17% on Q4 2015. Net product sales for the full 2016 year were $11.185 billion, up 22% on sales during 2015.  

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