Dewpoint Therapeutics, the biotech working to drug biomolecular condensates, has struck its first big deal. It’s teaming up with Bayer on new treatments for a pair of neglected fields: heart disease and women’s health.
The multiyear deal could be worth up to $100 million, but the duo did not break that figure down further. They will put Dewpoint’s condensates technology and Bayer’s small molecule library and R&D expertise to work, with the German pharma picking up the option to license a “specified number” of programs from the deal.
Dewpoint isn’t disclosing which specific diseases the partners are interested in, but CEO Amir Nashat pointed to pathways in both areas that are well known but have been difficult to drug safely. Using condensates will open up new targets, new epitopes and new binding sites for drug discovery and development, he said.
Biomolecular condensates are membraneless organelles whose main job is to surround and contain reactants—such as proteins and nucleic acids—for chemical reactions within cells. Although researchers and drug developers have long known about condensates, they have been “understudied” because they are difficult to analyze with conventional drug discovery methods.
“Condensates are everywhere—they’re found in all cell types and they’re relevant to all diseases,” Mark Murcko, Dewpoint’s chief scientific officer, told FierceBiotech. “Our mission is to figure out how we can take that knowledge and transform that into great new drugs to treat patients who would otherwise have no options.”
Given the vast applicability of the approach, why did Dewpoint zero in on cardiovascular and gynecological diseases?
“Condensates are a new angle for new targets—a new approach in two spaces that have been pretty neglected for different reasons,” Nashat said. “Women’s health has always been neglected and cardiovascular disease has become neglected … It’s kind of cool to breathe new life into those areas using a new approach.”
But heart disease and women’s health aren’t areas that Dewpoint could have attacked on its own: “We don’t have anywhere near the expertise and infrastructure those guys [at Bayer] do,” Nashat said.
It’s part of the reason the biotech—which is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Dresden, Germany—went with Bayer. It’s one of the companies that is a leader in, and continues to invest in, both spaces.
As for its internal pipeline? Dewpoint isn’t ready to unveil that yet. But given the “natural history” of the company’s founding and the specialties of its founders, its initial focus is likely to be cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.