Nimbus and Celgene Team Up to Develop Therapies for Lupus and Other Autoimmune Disorders

Patricia Inacio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inacio, PhD |

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Nimbus-Celgene alliance

Nimbus Therapeutics, which uses computer analysis to identify and develop therapies for autoimmune diseases like lupus, has established a long-term strategic alliance with Celgene, a company that focuses on immunology.

The agreement promises to foster the development of new therapies for diseases triggered by imbalanced immune system responses.

Nimbus develops programs that identify potential targets for autoimmune disease treatments. An autoimmune disease is one in which the immune system attacks healthy cells rather than invaders.

Under the alliance, Celgene gains access to Nimbus’ immunology programs. In return, Nimbus receives an upfront payment plus additional revenue when Celgene reaches various development milestones.

One of the alliance’s programs targets tyrosine kinase 2 (Tyk2), a signaling protein that regulates inflammatory responses. Tyk2’s ability to mediate inflammation makes it a potential target for several immune disorders, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.

The agreement also covers Nimbus’ small-molecule STING antagonist program. STING stands for stimulator of interferon genes. Nimbus is using computer analysis to develop a strategy to block STING’s ability to activate immune responses involved in lupus and several other diseases.

“Celgene is committed to the continued growth of our expanding immunology and inflammation pipeline,” Rupert Vessey, Celgene’s executive vice president and president of its Global Research and Early Development program, said in a press release. The company “believes that the Nimbus immunology programs, including their efforts on Tyk2 and STING antagonists, represent important additions as we work to create the next generation of drug candidates for patients with autoimmune disorders.”

“We are excited about the potential of the Nimbus immunology targets, which are based on compelling human genetic data,” said Robert Plenge, vice president of Celgene’s Research and Early Development progam and head of its Inflammation and Immunology Thematic Center of Excellence. “Moreover, Nimbus’ robust in silico-based [computer-based] approach is very promising.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Celgene and its world-renowned inflammation and immunology team to fuel the rapid advancement of these important potential therapeutic programs for patients,” said Donald Nicholson, chief executive officer of Nimbus. “In addition, our agreement with Celgene accelerates our growth as a company back into the clinic [clinical trials], while also expanding the breadth of our pipeline.”