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Genentech cements relationship with Arvinas with $650m deal

Published on 16/11/17 at 08:24am

Genentech first signed a deal with Arvinas, a biotech focused on drugs within the protein degradation class, back in 2015. Two years later and the initial deal must have showed strong signs of promise because Genentech has chosen to expand the prior licensing agreement to include additional disease targets, with significantly more money on the table.

The deal is potentially lucrative for Arvinas – with the revised terms of the deal allowing it earn $650 million, dependent upon it hitting development and commercial milestones. The biotech is also eligible to receive royalties on sales of products that could emerge from the partnership.

It has, so far, not been revealed what targets Genentech is working with Arvinas on but the biotech has been bullish on the broad range of cancers that it could potentially target with its protein degradation technology – referencing it being able to target breast, prostate and lung cancer.

Protein inhibition is a common method of treatment for cancer but the biotech has pointed to its potential candidates as being superior – noting the toxic side-effects and potential resistance to such drugs. Its own drugs could, instead, target protein directly and destroy them.

“Genentech's decision to expand our original agreement to include additional disease targets shows the promise seen in our first two years together and further supports our targeted protein degradation platform as a novel drug modality to treat a broad array of diseases,” said John Houston, President and Chief Executive Officer of Arvinas. “This expansion also supports our initial decision to work with Genentech in 2015 and we look forward to this growing collaboration.”

After the science behind protein degradation began to show its potential, there have been a number of further companies keen to jump into the space. Only last month, Kymera Therapeutics was set up to create a platform to develop protein degrading medicines – joining larger companies, such as Celgene and Takeda, in the space.

Ben Hargreaves

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