Nimbus Therapeutics and Celgene have agreed to work together to identify potential therapeutic compounds that can specifically target Tyk2 and STING — two proteins involved in inflammation and innate immune response. This strategic collaboration can open new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS) and several autoimmune disorders.
“Celgene is committed to the continued growth of our expanding immunology and inflammation pipeline, and 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,” Dr. Rupert Vessey, Celgene’s executive vice president, said in a press release. Vessey is also president of global research and early development at the Summit, New Jersey-based company.
Nimbus, headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, applies chemical computational analysis to identify and develop new compounds with potential for therapeutic use in a range of diseases.
Two Nimbus immunology programs are already covered under the newly established agreement: one developing inhibitors of Tyk2 and antagonists of STING protein.
Tyk2, or tyrosine kinase 2, mediates the signaling of several pro-inflammatory proteins, including interleukin (IL)-23, IL-12 and type-I interferons. Inhibiting this enzyme can stop signals from passing through. This can potentially impair inflammatory response.
STING, or stimulator of interferon genes, is an important activator of immune responses. As such, finding ways to block its activity can help prevent autoimmunity and reestablish immune response balance.
“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 Dr. Donald Nicholson, CEO of Nimbus. “In addition, our agreement with Celgene accelerates our growth as a company back into the clinic, while also expanding the breadth of our pipeline.”
Under their accord, Nimbus will control the program’s research and development; Celgene will have the option to acquire each program covered by the alliance.