Lycera and Celgene announced in June 2015 a global strategic collaboration to advance Lycera’s innovative pipeline, including Lycera’s first-in-class RORγ agonists for cancer immunotherapy, and clinical-stage candidate, LYC-30937, being studied for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
The global strategic collaboration is focused on Lycera’s novel oral immune modulatory compounds which are highly complementary to Celgene’s focus. Lycera believes that the current programs have the potential to significantly transform approaches for the treatment of cancer and immune mediated diseases.
Under the terms of the agreement, Lycera received an $82.5 million upfront cash payment. The upfront payment included an exclusive option for Celgene to license Lycera’s portfolio of ex vivo RORg agonist compounds. As part of the strategic agreement, Celgene obtains the exclusive right to acquire Lycera upon conclusion of the option period or achievement by Lycera of pre-specified clinical milestones. During the option period, Lycera will retain full control of its research and development programs. Following the exercise of the option to acquire Lycera, shareholders will be also eligible to receive future success-based milestones.
In December 2015, Celgene exercised the ex vivo RORg agonist licenses. Under the terms of the ex vivo license agreement, Lycera received a $17.5 million upfront cash payment and has the potential to receive an additional near-term milestone payment of $5 million.
Lycera Corp. was founded by Gary Glick, PhD, Werner E. Bachman Professor of Chemistry at the University of Michigan based on technology developed in Dr. Glick’s laboratory and in-licensed from the University of Michigan. These programs focus on ATPase modulators, which Lycera has advanced to a clinical stage, and Rho kinase inhibitors. Lycera’s research facilities are housed in the University of Michigan North Campus Research Complex, supporting substantial collaboration between the company and the University of Michigan research community.
In March 2011 and in January 2013, Lycera announced two separate research agreements with Merck to discover, develop and commercialize small molecules for the treatment of a range of immune-mediated disorders. The collaboration was narrowed to focus on a single undisclosed target which is being advanced by Merck following the completion of a research collaboration between the two companies.