Tavros signs $930M biobucks deal with Bayer's Vividion in hunt for 4 oncology targets

Since being acquired by Bayer for $1.5 billion last year, Vividion Therapeutics remains bullish in its hunt for undruggable targets for cancer. The Californian biotech has partnered with Tavros Therapeutics to find four cancer targets, paying out $17.5 million cash with potentially up to $430.5 million to follow in biobucks.

While those initial milestone payments are tied to a five-year search for the four targets, the agreement also means Vividion holds the right to opt in for up to five more oncology targets, giving Tavros the chance to garner a further $482 million in additional payments.

Tavros, which means bull in Greek, is a precision oncology platform biotech founded in 2019. Based in Durham, North Carolina—also known as Bull City—the company uses functional genomics screening to uncover unique weaknesses in cancer cells and identify new drug targets. Tavros is also using its platform and map of synthetic lethal relationships to build out a pipeline of small-molecule drug candidates, though none have been publicly nominated yet.

The agreement with Vividion follows a partnership with Zentalis Pharmaceuticals in 2020 to develop next-gen targeted small-molecule drug candidates.

The latest deal will let Tavros expand its platform into a new target space via Vividion’s "unmatched ability to drug the traditionally undruggable," Tavros CEO and co-founder Eoin McDonnell, Ph.D., said in an Oct. 12 release.

"Vividion has the ability to find and drug previously unknown, or cryptic, functional binding pockets on oncology and immunology targets of high interest, while Tavros has the potential to uncover previously unknown synthetic vulnerabilities or dependencies in deadly tumor cells," Vividion CEO Jeffrey Hatfield said in the release. “We believe this powerful combination of leading-edge technologies has the potential to deliver multiple breakthrough discoveries for cancer patients in need.”