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Business Observer Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014 4 years ago

Moffitt signs deal for experimental treatment

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Global biopharmaceutical company Celgene Corp. acquired the rights to potential new treatment for rare bone marrow cancer.

TAMPA — Moffitt Cancer Center reached a licensing agreement with Celgene Corp. that gives the public company the exclusive rights to an investigational cancer treatment.

Dr. Alan List, Moffitt's CEO and president, and Dr. Sheng Wei, a senior member of Moffitt's immunology program, developed a treatment to help patients withbone marrow and blood cell cancers, known as myelodysplastic syndromes, and potentially other diseases. The new therapy may also have applications for autoimmune diseases, inflammation and enhancement of anti-cancer immune responses.

Patients with myelodysplastic syndromes have rare cancers where bone marrow stops producing healthy blood cells. More than 50,000 people are diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndromes in the United States each year.

“Currently there are limited therapeutic options for patients and few programs targeting the underlying causes of this disease,” List says in a press release. “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.”

Under the agreement, Celgene has the option to partner on five additional scientific programs, which Moffitt may elect to pursue, including immunotherapy and cell signaling.

The financial details of the agreement were not disclosed. List is a member of Celgene's Scientific Advisory Board.

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