Genentech embraces Arvinas with $300M tie-up on protein degradation

Arvinas CEO Manny Litchman

Fresh on the heels of its inclusion in this year's Fierce 15, New Haven, CT-based Arvinas has pulled the wraps off a new partnership with Genentech that comes with a $300 million package of milestones.

Genentech, a marquee player in the cancer drug R&D arena, is turning to Arvinas for protein degradation platform tech that was originally developed by Yale's Craig Crews. Arvinas was launched in 2013 and later signed a development pact with Merck.

The biotech has been focused on moving beyond protein inhibition--a big field in biotech--and into protein degradation, targeting particular proteins for destruction in search of a more permanent solution to a wide array of disease triggers.

"There's huge interest in this area," company Chairman Tim Shannon told FierceBiotech earlier in the week. "We've had a lot of outreach and we expect more."

There's no news on exactly what Genentech is targeting initially, but the biotech arm of Roche has rights to expand the collaboration to include more targets. The upfront in the deal was not disclosed.

"Genentech is very interested in protein degradation as a therapeutic approach to address difficult disease targets," noted Genentech's chief deal maker, James Sabry. "Arvinas's PROTAC technology offers an exciting opportunity to harness the body's own system to degrade pathogenic proteins."

The company has been funded by Canaan Partners, 5AM Ventures, Connecticut Innovations and Elm Street Ventures.

- here's the release

Special Report: FierceBiotech's 2015 Fierce 15 - Arvinas