Pfizer taps Dewpoint Therapeutics in $239M dystrophy drug deal

Fierce 15 winner Dewpoint Therapeutics has added Pfizer to its growing list of pharma partners looking to tap the startup’s next-gen approach to a host of diseases.

The U.S.-German biotech is working on condensates, a new area of research that is helping explain aspects of cell biology that have been mysterious to researchers.

If you look back into your dog-eared biology textbooks, they'll almost certainly tell you the principle of the cell is the membrane.

But now, more importance is being given to biomolecular condensates—transient, liquidlike droplets made up of proteins and RNA—and Dewpoint is using this model to find new ways of discovering drugs.

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In 2019, it saw Bayer sign up to its approach in a $100 million deal for a pair of neglected fields—heart disease and women’s health—and inked a $305 million deal with Merck to work on using its technology to treat HIV. It also got off a $77 million B round back in the fall.

Now, Pfizer wants in, betting up to $239 million for work on myotonic dystrophy type 1, or DM1, a rare genetic disorder and one of two types of myotonic dystrophy.

DM1 is an inherited genetic disorder linked with the DMPK gene. People diagnosed with DM1 experience muscle loss and weakness, difficulty breathing, cataracts, heart conditions, intellectual disability and early death.

That $239 million figure isn’t broken down, with Pfizer only saying it is made up of an upfront payment and that Dewpoint “will be eligible to receive research, development, and sales milestones payments.” Dewpoint is also in line for royalties should any assets nab approvals in the future.