Boston biotech Acetylon being acquired by Celgene

Privately held Boston biotech company Acetylon Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is developing drugs to treat blood cancer and other diseases, said Friday it has reached an agreement to be acquired by Celgene Corp. for an undisclosed sum.

Celgene, a Summit, N.J., drug company maker with a market value of more than $90 billion, has purchased several Massachusetts companies over the past decade and struck partnerships with about a dozen. The company markets the cancer drug Abraxane but also helps fund drug development at companies like Cambridge-based Agios Pharmaceuticals Inc., Bluebird Bio Inc., Epizyme Inc., and Acceleron Pharma Inc.

With the takeover of eight-year-old Acetylon, which has about 40 employees, Celgene will gain worldwide rights to the company’s experimental treatments for cancers and autoimmune and neurological diseases. The treatments use technology licensed from Harvard University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.


But before the takeover is completed, Acetylon will spin out its drug candidates for nerve disorders and other noncancer diseases into a separate company called Regenacy Pharmaceuticals Inc., which will be based at the former Acetylon offices in Boston’s Seaport District.

Robert Weisman can be reached at robert.weisman@globe.com.