SAN FRANCISCO and SUMMIT, N.J., Nov. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Privately held biotechnology company Quanticel Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ: CELG), together with Versant Ventures, today announced they have entered into an exclusive, strategic collaboration to discover and develop first-in-class cancer drugs.
Under the terms of the agreement, Celgene will commit $45M to Quanticel during the initial three-and-a-half-year alliance term with the ability to extend the collaboration in exchange for additional funding. Celgene will also take an equity stake in Quanticel and will retain an exclusive option to acquire the company.
During the collaboration, Quanticel will utilize its platform to conduct single-cell genomic analysis of patient tumor samples and to identify predictive biomarkers for Celgene investigational drugs. Quanticel will also leverage its platform to perform independent drug discovery to generate its own drug candidates, and Celgene will have the ability to access this pipeline through its acquisition option.
"We all share a sense of urgency to create truly meaningful cancer medicines, and understand that new strategies that address all tumor cell populations are required for effective therapy," said Stephen Kaldor, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at Quanticel. "Celgene's global research and development capabilities plus the long-term financial commitment to Quanticel enable us to rapidly build the research and development applications of our platform, and to accelerate the potential growth of our pipeline."
"Quanticel's platform approach provides a unique advantage for defining mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance, and for validating and pursuing novel targets for difficult-to-treat cancers," said Thomas Daniel, M.D., President, Global Research and Early Development at Celgene. "We view this scientific collaboration and this business model as an innovative approach with high potential to advance the delivery of impactful cancer drugs to patients in need."
The collaboration utilizes an innovative funding structure between Quanticel, Celgene and Versant Ventures. Versant and Celgene have worked together to capitalize Quanticel at an early juncture, providing Versant with a strategic partner and potential acquirer, and Celgene with early and exclusive access to an R&D engine capable of fostering breakthrough therapies for patients at an accelerated pace.
"Aligning our financing strategy to create a start-up that supports the needs of a pre-eminent global biopharmaceutical company such as Celgene should build even greater value and liquidity than the traditional biotech venture approach," said Bradley Bolzon, Ph.D., Managing Director, Versant Ventures.
About Quanticel Pharmaceuticals
Quanticel Pharmaceuticals is a private, independent drug discovery company committed to creating breakthrough medicines for the treatment of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Quanticel's proprietary platform for the single-cell genomic analysis of human cancer is based on the work of company founders and Stanford professors Stephen Quake and Michael Clarke. Quanticel brings together pioneering academic serial entrepreneurs, proven industry talent who have produced marketed drugs and high-value liquidity events, and top-tier Bay Area investor Versant Ventures. The Company is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit the Company's website at www.quanticel.com.
Celgene Corporation is an integrated global biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through gene and protein regulation. For more information, please visit the Company's website at www.celgene.com.
About Versant Ventures
Versant Ventures is a leading healthcare-focused venture capital firm specializing in seed, early-stage and selective later-stage investments in medical devices, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Founded in 1999, Versant has a world-class capability for startup incubation. The firm engineers innovative business models to create value and a path toward liquidity, and partners with both entrepreneurs and pharmaceutical companies to facilitate transactions. Several examples of the unique model in addition to Quanticel include Amira, Synosia, Flexion, Kythera, and Inception. Versant Ventures has a seasoned team of 13 managing directors with more than 170 years of venture capital investing experience and approximately 145 years of operating experience. The firm currently has more than $1.6 billion in capital and works with 95 companies in its portfolios. Versant has three offices in California in Silicon Valley, Orange County and San Francisco. For more information, please visit www.versantventures.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements, which are generally statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements can be identified by the words "expects," "anticipates," "believes," "intends," "estimates," "plans," "will," "outlook" and similar expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on management's current plans, estimates, assumptions and projections, and speak only as of the date they are made. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement in light of new information or future events, except as otherwise required by law. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict and are generally beyond our control. Actual results or outcomes may differ materially from those implied by the forward-looking statements as a result of the impact of a number of factors, many of which are discussed in more detail in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and our other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Patrick E. Flanigan III
Brian P. Gill
SOURCE Quanticel Pharmaceuticals Inc.