MaRS Innovation’s Triphase Accelerator Announces New Partnership with Celgene for First-in-class WDR5 Leukemia Therapy

Largest transaction to date for Canadian-discovered preclinical asset arises from Ontario collaborators

Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Toronto, ON, Jan. 29, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 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.

About Triphase Accelerator

Triphase Accelerator is a private drug development company with a primary focus on oncology and with operations in Toronto and San Diego. Triphase Accelerator is dedicated to advancing novel compounds through Phase 2 proof-of-concept clinical studies using a unique, science-based model that is faster and more cost-effective than traditional pharmaceutical and biotech industry drug development approaches. Triphase Accelerator was founded by the OICR, in partnership with MaRS Innovation and MaRS DD. It has a strategic relationship with Celgene for oncology-focused drug development opportunities. For more information, visit

About MaRS Innovation

MaRS Innovation is a leading provider of commercialization services, early-stage funding, and deal-brokering with industry and private investors. As a member-based organization with 15 Member institutions, MaRS Innovation’s mandate is to drive the commercialization of their most promising research breakthroughs. MaRS Innovation’s portfolio consists of early-stage assets and companies and we leverage our deep expertise and experience to mature this portfolio via important global and strategic partnerships. With an active portfolio of more than 40 companies which have raised in excess of $250M from global investors and with the creation of more than 400 direct jobs, MaRS Innovation is truly a leader in the commercialization field. For more information please visit and follow us on Twitter @marsinnovation or contact:


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