Arvinas Collaborates with Merck & Co. on Novel Therapeutics

09.04.2015 -

Private US biotechnology company Arvinas has announced a multi-year collaboration with Merck & Co. to create novel therapeutics using its PROTAC (proteolysis-targeting chimeras) technology.

PROTACs are bifunctional small molecules that target proteins for degradation and removal from a cell. This is in contrast to more traditional drug development that is based on inhibiting proteins.

Financial details of the collaboration were not revealed, however Arvinas will receive an up-front payment and funding to support Merck-related research. In addition, Arvinas could earn up to $434 million if all targets, initially selected by Merck & Co., are met, as well as tiered royalties.

The partnership will encompass multiple disease targets across several therapeutic areas. Merck & Co. may also, at its discretion, decide to expand the collaboration to include additional diseases.

Manuel Litchman, president and CEO of Arvinas, commented: "We look forward to working with Merck to create novel drugs to address difficult targets, and we believe this alliance will maximize the value of Arvinas' very exciting and innovative protein degradation technology."

Arvinas said only 25% of the body's 20,000 proteins can be drugged by traditional methods, leaving the remainder as potential targets for PROTACs.