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Pfizer makes $830m drug discovery pact with Arvinas

Published on 04/01/18 at 10:15am

Arvinas has managed to secure another big pharma collaboration, after it announced that Pfizer had signed a research and licensing agreement. The deal adds to previous agreements signed with MSD and Genentech, cementing pharma’s interest in the biotech’s research area.

The biotech works on developing drug candidates that are designed to degrade disease-causing cellular proteins, rather than the more common method of inhibiting certain proteins. The potential candidates are discovered through Arvinas’ proprietary PROTAC (PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras) Platform.

This approach is interesting to the big pharma companies for several reasons, as it allows the targeting of “undruggable” proteins – the proteins that are not able to be inhibited. The more targeted method of delivery could also mean that there are fewer side-effects associated with such candidates and potentially more effective at addressing certain diseases.

The prospect was clearly enough to pique Pfizer’s interest and it has served up a deal worth a potential $830 million to get the partnership rolling. How much of this deal has been delivered was not revealed, though it is to be expected that the vast majority will be served up should candidates arise from the partnership that are able to make it into the clinic and potentially into the market.

Arvinas revealed that it could also be set to receive tiered royalties on global product sales should a candidate reach the commercialisation stage.

“As a global industry leader, Pfizer is uniquely positioned to partner with us as we exploit the potential of PROTACs in multiple disease areas,” stated John Houston, President and Chief Executive Officer of Arvinas. “This marks another key milestone as we continue to expand the use of our targeted protein degradation platform and advance Arvinas's first candidates into the clinic.”

“Protein degradation is an area of considerable interest for us, and we look forward to working with Arvinas to determine the potential applicability of this approach across multiple therapeutic areas,” said John Ludwig, Head of Medicinal Sciences, Pfizer.

Arvinas will be responsible for the discovery of particular candidates, under Pfizer’s direction, and then Pfizer will be responsible for the clinical development and commercialisation that may occur after.

Beyond this few details were revealed, with neither the particular disease areas that will be targeted nor a breakdown of the financials stated.

Ben Hargreaves

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