Presage Biosciences is conspiring with Celgene Corporation in a strategic collaboration that will use Presage’s technology platform to identify novel drug combinations for solid tumor indications. Presage will receive an up-front payment, an equity investment, and will be eligible for downstream payments. The collaboration is said to be worth around $13 million.

Presage says its platform is the only technology that allows for the direct comparison of multiple drugs or drug combinations in the same living tumor. The Presage platform reportedly enables the placement of multiple “threads” of candidate treatments through the skin and directly into the tumor, allowing for the identification of drug response directly attributable to the drug versus intrinsic cell death. In addition to identifying combination treatments for cancer, the company ultimately intends to utilize its platform to precisely evaluate patients’ unique responses to microdoses of multiple cancer drugs.

“Drug development is currently challenged by heavy reliance on in vitro test systems and animal xenografts of little relevance to individual patients,” said Thomas Daniel, M.D., president, research and early development at Celgene. “The Presage platform addresses this challenge, permitting rapid assessment of drug candidates and combinations in relevant models, with potential to base critical drug development decisions on in vivo response data.”

Celgene isn’t the only company that’s picked Presage’s brain on cancer drug combos: Millennium: The Takeda Oncology Company made a deal with Presage to find drug combinations that can be used against solid tumors in April of 2012. However, Celgene is a company that’s had some experience with cancer drug combinations itself: the FDA recently approved the company’s application to market Pomalyst (pomalidomide) for relapsed and refractory multiple myeloma (MM) patients who did not respond to treatment within 60 days of completion of their last therapy involving two other drugs, one of which is another Celgene drug for MM, the thalidomide-derived Revlimid.

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