Triphase Accelerator, a Toronto-based drug development company, has entered into a new strategic partnership with Celgene Corporation. The focus of the collaboration will be on a pre-clinical therapeutic developed by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) for the treatment of leukemia and other blood cancers, specifically targeting the WDR5 protein.

Under the terms of the agreement, Celgene has the option to acquire TRPH-395 from Triphase Accelerator. Celgene will pay an upfront amount of US$40M and, upon exercise of the option, Celgene would pay up to US$940M in contingent development, regulatory and sales milestones. Additional payments for sales-based royalties are also possible. This is the largest transaction to date for a  pre-clinical asset based on Canadian research and a very significant development for Triphase and its collaborators.

MaRS Innovation co-founded Triphase in 2010 in partnership with OICR/FACIT and MaRS Discovery District.   The goal of Triphase was to be a receptor for Ontario’s world-class, early-stage oncology assets and advance them to clinical proof of concept.  “I am thrilled that our initial vision of creating a stellar oncology drug development engine is now bearing fruit,” remarked Rafi Hofstein, co-founder and Director of Triphase and President and CEO of MaRS Innovation.  “Celgene’s expertise together with the commitment of our founding partners will not only continue to support the successful Triphase model but will also ensure increased global focus on Toronto and Ontario more broadly.”

Triphase, with head-quarters in Toronto and operations in San Diego, has now jointly developed three assets with Celgene.  Triphases’s first asset, marizomib, was acquired by Celgene in 2016 and is currently in Phase 3 development for glioblastoma.   Triphase’s second asset moved recently into Phase 1 clinical trials and now WDR5 is the third asset in development.