Triphase Accelerator options leukemia compound to Celgene

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Closely-held Triphase Accelerator entered a new strategic partnership with Celgene (NASDAQ:CELG) to develop a preclinical therapeutic compound, TRPH-395, for the treatment of leukemia and other blood cancers, specifically targeting the WDR5 protein.

Under the accord, Triphase will receive an upfront payment of $40-million. If Celgene exercises the option, it would pay Triphase up to $940-million in contingent development, regulatory and sales milestones. Additional payments for sales-based royalties are also possible. This is the largest transaction to date for a preclinical asset based on Canadian research.

Triphase’s TRPH-395 represents the third asset to be jointly developed with Celgene. The first compound, marizomib, was acquired by Celgene in 2016 and is currently in Phase 3 development for glioblastoma. Triphase’s second asset recently moved into Phase 1 clinical trials.

MaRS Innovation of Toronto co-founded Triphase in 2010 in partnership with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research/Fight Against Cancer Innovation Trust and MaRS Discovery District.

“Celgene’s expertise, together with the commitment of our founding partners, will not only continue to support the successful Triphase model but will also ensure increased global focus on Toronto and Ontario more broadly,” Rafi Hofstein, co-founder and director of Triphase, and president and CEO of MaRS Innovation, said in a statement.

Michelle Carr