UPDATE 2-Celgene to invest $1 bln in Juno to partner in cancer therapies

30 Jun 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

After the Bell: Juno Therapeutics Surges 38% on Celgene Deal.

Celgene, a leading biotech company, said on Monday that it would pay about $1 billion to start a collaboration with Juno Therapeutics, a leader in the hot new area of cancer drugs that harness patients’ immune systems to attack tumors.

Shares of Juno Therapeutics (JUNO) surged more than 38% after hours on news that biotech giant Celgene (CELG) is making a big investment in the drug maker. Celgene will have the right to buy additional equity and the right to nominate a Juno board member. “This transaction strengthens Celgene’s position in the emerging and transformative area of immuno-oncology,” Celgene Chief Executive Bob Hugin said in a statement. Under the agreement, Celgene has the option to be the commercialization partner for Juno’s oncology and cell therapy autoimmune product candidates, including Juno’s CD19 and CD22 directed CAR-T product candidates. The payment surpasses the previous record, when Pfizer Inc. agreed to give Merck KGaA $850 million in a cancer drugs deal announced last year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

That reflected the excitement around its technology, which involves genetically engineering patients’ immune system cells so they can recognize and attack tumors. A deal with Celgene, which is one of the largest biotechnology companies, could help Juno better compete with Novartis, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, which is developing similar treatments, which are called chimeric antigen receptor technology, or CAR-T. Celgene’s moves to enhance its pipeline include the purchase of Quanticel Pharmaceuticals Inc. for an upfront payment of $100 million, a deal announced in April and slated to close in the second half of the year.

Juno will responsible for research and development in North America and will keep commercial rights there, while Celgene will be responsible for the rest of the world.

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