Firm’s chief commercial officer appointed as nonvoting observer to Acetylon board.

Celgene has made a $15 million equity investment in Acetylon through the purchase of Series B-2 Preferred Stock. The acquisition isn’t associated with rights or options to Acetylon technology, but  Mark Alles, Celgene’s chief commercial officer, will serve as a nonvoting observer to the Acetylon board.

Acetylon is focused on the development of small molecule histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors and other targeted drugs for the treatment of cancers as well as inflammatory, neurodegenerative, genetic, and infectious diseases. The firm’s in-house programs are focused on development of inhibitors of the class IIb enzyme HDAC6.

Lead candidate ACY-1215 is being developed as a potential treatment for hematologic cancers and solid tumors. It is undergoing Phase I/II evaluation in the U.S as a treatment for multiple myeloma. The three-stage Phase I/II trial, for which  the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has pledged up to $4.85 million in milestone-related funding, is evaluating ACY-1215 in relapsed and relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma at six participating teaching hospitals.

“The potential synergistic combination of Celgene’s class-leading myeloma drug, Revlimid® (lenalidomide) with Acetylon’s selective HDAC6 inhibitor ACY-125 in clinical trials is an exciting prospect for the treatmentt of patients with progressive disease,” remarks Walter C. Ogier, Acetylon president and CEO. “In addition to Celgene’s funding, we will also welcome their contribution of clinical and commercialization expertise to our organization, as we advance and expand our clinical trials program over the coming year.”

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