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Berlin/Monheim, June 4, 2019 – Bayer today announced a collaboration with Arvinas, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in New Haven, Connecticut. The new life science research partnership uniquely leverages the full potential of Arvinas’ novel PROTAC® technology, coupled with Bayer’s leading expertise in health and agriculture to develop innovations for the benefit of patients and farmers.
Arvinas is a pioneer in Proteolysis-Targeting Chimera, also known as PROTACs. PROTAC® technology harnesses the naturally occurring protein degradation system of the cell to selectively remove target proteins by proteolysis, the breakdown of proteins into amino acids.
For Bayer, a company which is uniquely positioned in health and agriculture, the collaboration demonstrates the utilization of potential synergies of emerging and converging research across human and plant applications that is unprecedented in the life science sector.
Bayer will form an exclusive joint venture as the first company to explore the PROTAC® technology in agriculture for crop protection, and at the same time establish a target-based pharmaceutical research collaboration with Arvinas. In addition, Bayer will make an equity investment to sustain its commitment for the technology.
Agricultural joint venture
Within the framework of the joint venture the exploration of novel molecular target space to address weeds, insects and/or diseases that threaten crops worldwide will be pioneered. As the technology degrades targets rather than inhibiting them, it offers a completely new category of crop protection applications in agriculture. In addition, PROTACs have the potential to revive crop protection mechanisms that have become ineffective due to resistance.
“The goal is to utilize the complementary expertise of Bayer and Arvinas to develop novel research discoveries that ultimately deliver new crop protection products for farmers,” said Dr. Robert Reiter, Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer AG's Crop Science Division and Head of Crop Science Research & Development. “With this cutting-edge science, we aim to deliver safe and effective solutions that will aid farmers in protecting and producing crops that help to feed a growing global population.”
Within the framework of the joint venture, Bayer has committed more than USD 55 million over six years to translate the new protein degradation technology in agro chemistry and to build an agro-specific PROTAC® IP portfolio.
Pharmaceutical collaboration and equity investment
Today, up to 80 percent of the human proteome is still considered undruggable by small molecule inhibitors, the mechanism underlying many therapeutic drugs currently available. By removing target proteins directly rather than blocking them, protein degraders like PROTACs may provide multiple advantages over small molecule inhibitors. In addition, no inhibitors have been identified for a majority of the targets of interest in drug development.
“In line with our strategy to adopt novel modalities in R&D, we are entering into a collaboration with Arvinas as we see the breakthrough innovation potential in this technology,” said Dr. Joerg Moeller, Member of the Executive Committee of Bayer AG's Pharmaceuticals Division and Head of Research and Development. “Because PROTACs don’t inhibit the target protein's enzymatic activity, but bind their targets with high selectivity, it may be possible to retool previously ineffective inhibitor molecules as PROTACs for next-generation medicines for patients.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Arvinas will receive an upfront payment and pharmaceutical R&D support over the next four years, as well as a direct equity investment. These investments combined will exceed USD 60 million. Bayer will own the rights to novel lead structures generated in the course of the collaboration. As programs progress through research, development, and commercialization, Arvinas might also be eligible to receive pre-defined development milestones of over USD 685 million and commercial royalties.
“As the first company founded to explore targeted protein degradation, we’ve been excited about the potential to improve the lives of patients since our inception,” said John Houston, Ph.D., President and CEO of Arvinas. “We’ve also anticipated the broad potential of our PROTAC® platform to move beyond treating human disease. This collaboration enables us not only to expand our platform into new therapeutic areas, but also begins a new journey in applying our approach to agriculture. We are thrilled to work with Bayer to begin developing solutions to efficiently support the needs of the world’s growing population and to improve human health.”
About PROTAC® (Proteolysis-Targeting Chimera) Protein Degraders
Arvinas’ PROTAC® protein degraders harness the body’s own natural protein disposal system to degrade disease-causing proteins. PROTAC® protein degraders recruit an E3 ligase to tag the target protein with ubiquitin, which directs its degradation through the proteasome, a large protein complex that breaks down the ubiquitinated target protein into small peptides and amino acids. As the target protein is degraded, the PROTAC® protein degrader is released and acts iteratively to destroy additional target protein.
PROTAC® protein degraders offer numerous potential advantages as a therapeutic, including broad tissue distribution, routes of administration that include oral delivery, and simpler manufacturing than other new modalities, such as cell-based therapies. Arvinas has developed and optimized a proprietary library of protein targeting ligands, E3 ligase ligands, and linkers, which allow the company to rapidly identify and optimize efficient protein degraders with favorable characteristics for successful drug development.
Arvinas is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the lives of patients suffering from debilitating and life-threatening diseases through the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapies that degrade disease-causing proteins. Arvinas uses its proprietary technology platform to engineer proteolysis targeting chimeras, or PROTAC® targeted protein degraders, that harness the body’s own natural protein disposal system to selectively and efficiently degrade and remove disease-causing proteins. The company’s lead program, ARV-110 for the treatment of patients with metastatic castrate-resistant prostate cancer, began clinical trials in 1Q2019. For more information, see www.arvinas.com.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care and nutrition. Its products and services are designed to benefit people by supporting efforts to overcome the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. At the same time, the Group aims to increase its earning power and create value through innovation and growth. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development, and the Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. In fiscal 2018, the Group employed around 117,000 people and had sales of 39.6 billion euros. Capital expenditures amounted to 2.6 billion euros, R&D expenses to 5.2 billion euros. For more information, go to www.bayer.com.
This release may contain forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in Bayer’s public reports which are available on the Bayer website at www.bayer.com. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.