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Prothena, Celgene partner to develop therapies for neurodegenerative diseases

Ireland's Prothena Corp. plc entered a collaboration with Summit, N.J.-based Celgene Corp. through a unit to develop new therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the progressive loss of the structure and function of the central nervous system or peripheral nervous system.

Under the multiyear deal, the companies will focus on three proteins responsible for the development of several neurodegenerative diseases, including tau, TDP-43 and an undisclosed target.

Prothena will receive a $100 million up-front payment and a $50 million equity investment by Celgene through subscription of about 1.2 million of Prothena's ordinary shares at $42.57 apiece. Prothena will also receive future potential exercise payments and regulatory and commercial milestones for each licensed program as well as additional royalties on net sales of any resulting marketed products.

For each of the programs, Celgene has an exclusive right to license clinical candidates in the U.S. at the investigational new drug filing and if exercised, would also have a right to expand the license to global rights at the completion of phase 1. After the exercise of global rights, Celgene will be responsible for funding all further global clinical development and commercialization.

Citi is acting as financial adviser to Prothena, and Latham & Watkins LLP is acting as legal counsel to Prothena. Morgan Lewis is acting as legal counsel to Celgene.