GSK, Celgene cough up milestone payments

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Epizyme announced Monday that its experimental orphan drug for acute leukemia, EPZ-5676, achieved its proof-of-concept milestone, triggering a $25-million payment from partner Celgene. The drug is for patients in whom the MLL gene is rearranged due to a chromosomal translocation or partial tandem duplication. The conditions result in “an increased expression of genes causing leukemia.”

The Cambridge, MA, company also scored $4 million from partner GlaxoSmithKline for a milestone payment associated with one of three histone methyltrasferase targets. The companies joined up in 2011 for a deal that includes up to $626 million in milestone payments and sales-based milestone payments of up to $270 million.

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