US-based biopharmaceutical company AbbVie has acquired Celsius Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing therapies for inflammatory diseases, for $250m.

Celsius’ lead candidate, CEL383, is an investigational antibody directed towards TREM1.

The biotechnology company completed a Phase 1 first-in-human clinical study of its potential anti-TREM1 antibody in treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

TREM1 (triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells-1) is an important gene that drives IBD and is expressed on inflammatory monocytes and neutrophils.

In the inflammatory cells and other cell types, TREM1 is upstream of multiple known inflammatory pathways and acts as an amplifier of inflammation.

Celsius identified the gene through single-cell analysis of hundreds of clinical samples using machine learning algorithms using its SCOPE platform.

In the preclinical tests, CEL383 inhibited TREM1 signalling and reduced the levels of multiple inflammatory mediators of high clinical relevance in inflammatory conditions.

Covington & Burling served as legal advisor to AbbVie, while Centerview Partners served as financial advisor and Goodwin Procter as legal advisor to Celsius on the transaction.

Celsius chief executive officer Tariq Kassum said: “AbbVie shares our excitement about the potential of TREM1 inhibition for patients with inflammatory disease.

“I’d like to thank the Celsius team for their relentless efforts in the discovery of CEL383. We look forward to the further development of this promising program, which we hope will offer a new approach to the treatment of IBD.”

AbbVie vice president and immunology clinical development global head Kori Wallace said: “Given the potential relevance of TREM1 as a key driver of inflammation and pathology in IBD and other conditions, we are eager to advance the development of CEL383 with a goal of helping more patients with IBD achieve remission.”

Earlier this month, AbbVie signed a $1.7bn license agreement with FutureGen Biopharmaceutical (Beijing) to develop FG-M701, a next-generation IBD treatment.