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Celgene inks a deal with biotech start-up Skyhawk Therapeutics

Biotech start-up firm Skyhawk Therapeutics entered into a five-year deal with Celgene (CELG) in which it will receive an upfront payment of $60 million from the pharma giant. This amount excludes the additional potential milestone payments and royalties to be paid by Celgene.

As per the deal terms, Celgene will get the license to develop and market Skyhawk’s drugs that help to treat amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington’s disease, and additional neurological disorders. The Massachusetts-based start-up was founded in January 2018 by its current CEO William Haney and Chief Scientific Officer Kathleen McCarthy.

In addition, Skyhawk also received $40 million through an equity investment funding which included strategic collaborators like Celgene, major family investors, and leading venture funds. So far, the company has generated a capital of $100 million and it plans to use this amount for developing drugs that treat neurology, oncology and immunology patients. Skyhawk expects its first cancer drug to be ready by 2019-end.

Related: Celgene posts upbeat Q1 results

In June 2017, Celgene entered into a similar kind of deal with Dragonfly Therapeutics, a start-up firm which was founded by Tyler Jacks, William Haney, and David Raulet. Celgene agreed to pay $33 million as an upfront payment to Dragonfly for co-developing blood cancer drugs. So, this is the second time that William Haney is collaborating with the Summit, New Jersey-based company.

“Through our new strategic alliance and investment round, the company is well positioned and capitalized to advance both our partnered programs in neurology and internal programs that currently focus on a set of RNA splicing-driven cancer indications,” said William Haney, CEO, Skyhawk.

Related: Celgene plunges to a new 52-week low

The troubled drugmaker’s stock hit a new 52-week low in May and it had suffered a 25% slump year-to-date while registering a 41% drop in the past one year. Celgene’s shares inched down 0.3% in today’s regular trading session.

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