Celgene Corp has linked up with Abide Therapeutics to discover and develop drugs in inflammation and immunology.

The deal centres around Abide's technologies to selectively target serine hydrolases, "one of the largest enzyme families involved in regulating human physiology." These enzymes play a key role in areas such as "regulating CNS signalling, digestion, metabolism, inflammation, blood clotting, and life cycle of viruses and pathogens".

Under the terms of the agreement, Celgene has paid an upfront fee, reported by FierceBiotech to be $50 million, and will take a small equity stake in Abide. The deal gives Celgene an exclusive option to acquire the company.

Abide says it will apply its technology platform to target the more than 200 members of the serine hydrolase 'superfamily'. Included in the collaboration is its most advanced compound, AB101131, which is estimated to enter first human studies in 2015.

Thomas Daniel, head of global research and early development at Celgene, said the collaboration "illustrates our ongoing commitment to enable potentially disruptive technologies in the hands of talented drug hunters, here deployed in a unique and powerful approach to target a validated but largely underexplored class of serine hydrolases".