Thursday, February 21, 2008

Acceleron Deals ACE-011 and More to Celgene

Privately held Acceleron yesterday announced a broad co-development/co-promotion alliance with Celgene on Phase Ib lead project ACE-011 in bone disease and a further three discovery-stage compounds.

The upfront money looks good, given the compound's stage of development: Acceleron will receive $50 million, including a $5 million equity investment. That's close to the total upfront average for Phase II deals in 2007--$58 million, according to Windhover's Strategic Transactions Database. Celgene has also committed to a further $7 million minimum investment in a potential Acceleron IPO.

Development, regulatory and commercial milestones could reach $510 million for the ACE-011 program, and $437 million apiece for the three discovery-stage programs. (Since they're not split out into pre-and post-approval, we won't comment on size.) Acceleron will shepherd the projects through Phase IIa, and then hand them off to Celgene for later-stage development.

ACE-011 is an activin receptor IIa mimic that inhibits activin, a negative regulator of bone mass--you can read more here, and more here in our profile of Acceleron. The company specializes in the regulation of bone and muscle growth to treat a variety of diseases, and has raised nearly $100 million over three venture rounds and a debt placement since 2004.

IPOs are a rarity these days, but just in case, the Celgene deal sets Acceleron up nicely. And the young company still holds some cards: muscle loss, neuromuscular, and metabolic programs remain unpartnered.

image from flickr user bk-robat used under a creative commons license

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