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Presage Biosciences, Millenium to Partner on Cancer Drugs

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Presage Biosciences, a biotechnology company in Seattle, and Millenium, a division of Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, Massachusetts, say the two companies will collaborate on the development of new cancer therapies. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Millenium develops cancer drugs, focusing on disease pathways or processes that feed cancer cells. The agreement will give Millenium access to Presage’s technology that identifies effective drug combinations for treating solid tumors. Under terms of the agreement, Presage will receive upfront fees and research funding as well as development and regulatory milestones based on identification of successful drug combinations.

Presage’s process enables the evaluation of drugs and drug combinations on live tumors without fully administering the drugs to patients. The technology involves placing samples of candidate treatments through the skin and directly into the tumor. The company says this type of controlled, localized testing makes it possible to identify more precisely and in advance the drug’s potential for treating the cancer.

Presage Biosciences is a spinoff from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, founded in 2008 by pediatric oncologist James Olson. The company’s technology is based on Olson’s research. Olson continues his pediatric oncology practice and research affiliation with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center while serving as Presage’s chairman.

Millenium’s chief science officer Joseph Bolen says, “Presage’s technology platform allows us to obtain in-depth non-clinical in vivo data that is typically difficult to gather by conventional approaches.” Millenium says it has 15 drugs in phase 2 or 3 clinical trials, testing the candidates against placebos or current standards of treatment. Another 19 candidates are in preclinical or phase 1 (safety) tests.


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