Revolution Medicines to absorb Warp Drive Bio into its oncology and ‘undruggable’ discovery efforts

Revolution Medicines is acquiring Warp Drive Bio, with plans to combine the two companies’ drug discovery efforts and precision cancer therapy programs.

Revolution aims to supplement its work toward so-called undruggable therapy targets with Warp Drive Bio’s SMART modality platform—small molecules that bind to intracellular receptor proteins and essentially create a biologic drug complex that operates within a cell.

Expected to close by the end of this month, the deal involves the issuing of Revolution stock to holders of Warp Drive Bio, though full financial details were not disclosed.

“The merged R&D portfolio represents a rich pipeline of near- and long-term development opportunities for our R&D team to advance in support of our continuing commitment to translate frontier oncology targets on behalf of cancer patients,” said Mark Goldsmith, M.D., Ph.D., president and CEO of Revolution, a 2015 Fierce 15 winner.

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Inhibitors built through the SMART platform exploit unique molecular contacts that have not been possible with traditional small molecules, the companies said, such as the activated form of the cancer-driving protein KRAS-G12C.

Revolution sees Warp Drive Bio’s KRAS programs as complementary to its own pipeline, which aims to break down natural therapeutic compounds to their composite parts and reassemble them in ways that cut down on toxicity or poor targeting.

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Its lead program, RMC-4630, hones in on inhibiting the enzyme SHP2, a regulator in the RAS growth signaling pathway, and is currently in a phase 1 trial. RMC-4630 is also the center of a global collaboration with Sanofi on SHP2. Earlier this year, Revolution raised $56 million to help move into the clinic.

“We appreciate the groundbreaking research by Warp Drive Bio scientists that inspired this deal,” Goldsmith said.

The Redwood City, California-based Revolution will maintain a research site in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during the transition, it said, where Warp Drive Bio’s separate discovery collaborations—with GlaxoSmithKline in oncology and with Roche in antibiotics—will continue as Revolution determines a new business strategy going forward.