Epizyme nets $25m payment, stock soars 75 percent

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Shares of Epizyme Inc. vaulted 75.5 percent Tuesday after the Cambridge biotechnology startup disclosed that an experimental cancer drug had performed well enough to earn a payout from the company’s partner, Celgene Corp.

News of the $25 million “proof of concept” milestone payment from Celgene, based in Summit, N.J., lifted Epizyme’s stock by $15.49 a share to $35.99 on the Nasdaq exchange.

Epizyme’s drug candidate, called EPZ-5676, is designed to treat genetically defined cancers.

The company said it had also earned a $4 million payment from the British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline PLC for its work on a separate targeted cancer therapy.

A pioneer in the emerging field of “epigenetics,” Epizyme went public in June.

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