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Unstoppable Celgene (CELG) to Take Over Amgen (AMGN)'s Former Space in Cambridge

4/21/2017 5:45:59 AM

Unstoppable Celgene to Take Over Amgen's Former Space in Cambridge April 21, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

SUMMIT, N.J. – Celgene (CELG) continues to expand its presence in one of the hottest biotech hubs of the United States, Cambridge, Mass. The New Jersey-based pharma company snapped up a 40,000 square-foot facility formerly occupied by Amgen (AMGN), the Boston Business Journal reported this morning.

Although not in the densely-packed biotech zone of Kendall Square, the Celgene space in the Alewife neighborhood keeps them in close proximity to many partners and potential partners. Amgen didn’t go far. The California-based company has moved into new digs in Kendall Square, the Journal said.

Celgene, cheekily dubbed as “pharma’s best friend” due to the plethora of collaborations it has with multiple companies, has a strong presence in the Bay State due to those partnerships. Acquisitions have also helped Celgene expand its presence in Massachusetts. In December, Celgene acquired Boston’s Actelion Pharmaceuticals (ALIOF.PK) to gain worldwide rights to that company’s selective HDAC6 inhibitor, as well as other programs. More recently, in January, Celgene snapped up the Kendall Square startup Delinia in a deal that could be worth up to $775 million. That deal brought Delinia’s lead program, DEL106, an IL-2 mutein Fc fusion protein that is engineered to preferentially upregulate Tregs, into Celgene’s pipeline.

While Celgene has snagged those drug candidates, it has its own powerhouse drugs, including multiple myeloma drug Revlimid. The company also has two strong growth drivers, Otezla and Pomalyst. Otezla, approved for psoriatic arthritis, saw revenue increase 116 percent in 2016 compared to 2015 sales. The drug generated $1.2 billion. Like Revlimid, Pomalyst is an effective drug for patients with multiple myeloma. While Revlimid is used as a first-line defense against the blood cancer, Pomalyst is used by patients who have either not responded to Revlimid or have seen the blood cancer return.
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Celgene is also benefitting from its multiple partnerships the company has forged with the likes of Juno Therapeutics (JUNO), Jounce Therapeutics (JNCE), bluebird bio (BLUE), Agios (AGIO), Epizeme and more. Celgene’s partnership goals has been a strategic effort to diversify revenue streams so it is not so financially dependent on Revlimid and its own pipeline. In December, Celgene inked a five-year partnership for neurodegenerative drug discovery with Germany’s Evotec AG. Delving into neurodegenerative research is something that has been a goal of Bob Hugin.

In its report, the Journal did not indicate how Celgene intends to use the Amgen space. For its part, Amgen is in the process of consolidating some of its operations. Last month the company announced it intended to shift about 500 of its California-based employees to Tampa, Fla. and Cambridge to “align and advance functional capabilities” and increase innovation capabilities at each of those sites.

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