Partnership Highlights New Paradigm that Advances High-Potential Science Programs with Goal to Improve Patient Outcomes
October 4 , 2013
San Diego, CA — PharmAkea Therapeutics, Inc. and Bay City Capital, LLC, today announced a strategic collaboration with Celgene Corporation designed to leverage PharmAkea’s proprietary drug discovery platform to generate and advance novel small-molecule therapies targeting cancer and fibrotic diseases.
Under terms of the agreement, Celgene Corporation will commit $35 million to PharmAkea during an initial three-year alliance term, with an option to extend the collaboration with additional funding. Bay City Capital has invested $10 million in a Series A equity financing. In addition, Celgene will also take an equity stake in PharmAkea and will retain an exclusive option to acquire the company. PharmAkea was founded in 2012 with seed funding from Celgene, which was used to secure the initial scientific team, initiate operations and commence identification of clinical candidates against selected targets.
PharmAkea was co-founded by three highly-experienced early-drug developers, John Hutchinson, Ph.D., Jilly Evans, Ph.D., and Kevin Holme, Ph.D., all three of whom previously worked together at Amira Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to Bristol-Myers Squibb. Joining PharmAkea as Chief Executive Officer will be Robert F. Williamson, III. Mr. Williamson brings with him extensive industry experience, having held key management and leadership positions at venture backed and public life science companies, and was previously a partner with The Boston Consulting Group, Inc.
“The very strong team at PharmAkea is led by drug hunting professionals with a proven track record of delivering important medicines to patients,” said Tom Daniel, M.D., Executive Vice President and President of Research and Early Development at Celgene. “As our commitment to immune & inflammatory diseases expands, this investment partnered with Bay City Capital represents an extension of our commitment to develop innovative approaches and complementary strategic assets for high therapeutic impact.”
“We are excited to be working with Celgene and Bay City Capital on moving our fibrosis and oncology focused programs forward,” said Dr. Hutchinson. “We see tremendous potential to leverage our expertise in the emerging biological understanding of connective tissue disorders to develop new therapeutics for these grave diseases, which carry high morbidity and mortality and affect a significant portion of the population.”
“We are pleased to be collaborating with Celgene Corporation again, and look forward to helping build PharmAkea and advance their mission. PharmAkea brings together people from within all of our networks to form a team with a track record of effective collaboration and success,” said Carl Goldfischer, Managing Director of Bay City Capital. “This kind of collaboration exemplifies an innovative way that venture firms, entrepreneurs, and industry can come together to support and foster progress in the life sciences.”
Merv Turner, former Chief Strategy Officer of Merck & Co. and an advisor to Bay City Capital, will be joining PharmAkea’s board along with Tom Daniel, Carl Goldfischer and Rob Williamson.