News Feature | November 20, 2014

Celgene Wins Rights To Moffitt's Investigational MDS Therapy

By Lori Clapper

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The Moffitt Cancer Center announced Monday that it has entered an exclusive licensing agreement with Celgene Corporation, which gives Celgene the exclusive rights to its novel, investigational therapy for Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS).

MDS is a group of diseases that affect bone marrow and blood. Moffitt is developing a biologic agent aimed at improving patient response and outcomes for MDS and other autoimmune diseases, and inflammation. The drug could also be used to boost the immune system and fight off cancer, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported.

“Currently there are limited therapeutic options for patients and few programs targeting the underlying causes of this disease. This agent is a first-in-class, novel strategy for targeting a key soluble effector of the disease that could be transformational in our understanding and care of MDS,” Dr. Alan List, Moffitt CEO and president, said.

More than 50,000 people are diagnosed with MDS in the United States each year, particularly those 60 years and older. Nobody has uncovered the cause of MDS, but people that have been exposed to certain industrial chemicals or radiation have an increased risk of developing the disease. Right now, there are very few options approved to treat the disease.

“Celgene has a tradition of highly effective collaborations with organizations that have a deep scientific approach to research,” Sheng Wei, senior member of Moffitt's immunology program, said in a statement. “We believe that by partnering Moffitt’s commitment to cutting-edge research with Celgene, a long-established leader in hematology and MDS, this novel technology can be translated into a meaningful clinical option for patients with MDS.”

Per the agreement, Celgene can opt to partner with the Moffitt Cancer Center on five more scientific programs, including immunotherapy and cell signaling. Financial information was not released.