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Abide Therapeutics begins collaboration with Celgene

Abide Therapeutics announced on Friday that it has entered into a strategic collaboration with Celgene Corp. to discover and develop new drugs in inflammation and immunology.

According to a release, Celgene has paid an upfront payment to Abide and will take a small equity stake in the company, while retaining an exclusive option to acquire Abide later. Abide can earn additional payments if Celgene exercises its option to license the rest of the world rights on the first two products that reach the clinic.

Abide -- based in San Diego and focused on developing technologies to selectively target serine hydrolases, one of the largest enzyme families involved in regulating human physiology -- also reports it may receive additional milestone payments upon successful development of those programs.

The company's existing venture investor, Cardinal Partners, also participated in the equity financing.

Under the agreement, Abide will apply its technology platform, which it said can selectively target the more than 200 members of the serine hydrolase "superfamily," to discover new therapeutic targets and drug candidates for the treatment of inflammation and immunological disorders. Serine hydrolase enzymes play a regulatory role in human physiological processes, such as regulating CNS signaling, digestion, metabolism, inflammation, blood clotting, and life cycle of viruses and pathogens.

Abide's most advanced compund, AB101131, is included in the collaboration. The company estimates the compound to enter first human studies in 2015, and expects to generate another three to four developmental candidates during the term of the collaboration.

"This collaboration is a wonderful opportunity for Abide to focus in a therapeutic area that is ideal to explore the full potential of our therapeutic engine," Alan Ezekowitz, president and CEO of Abide Therapeutics, said. "This relationship will support Abide with Celgene's global expertise in discovery, development and commercialization of novel disease-altering therapies."

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