Functional genomics platform company Tavros Therapeutics, which is developing oncology drug targets, announced Wednesday a five-year collaboration with Vividion Therapeutics, a Bayer AG subsidiary, to discover four oncology targets. Under the terms of agreement, Vividion will pay Tavros an upfront payment of $17.5 million and up to $430.5 million in future payments based on the achievement of pre-specified preclinical, clinical development, and commercial milestones. Tavros could also earn low-single-digit royalties on sales of certain potential programs. Vividion also hold an option for as many as five additional targets representing up to $482 million in potential additional future payments to Tavros.
“The future of cancer treatment lies in the precision targeting of therapies in the optimal clinical settings,” said Tavros CEO and co-founder Eoin McDonnell, Ph.D. “This partnership allows Tavros to expand the actionability of our platform into a new target space by pairing our precision oncology platform with Vividion’s unmatched ability to drug the traditionally undruggable.”
According to Vividion, it’s discovery platform combines a proprietary library of small molecules with a chemoproteomic technology that is to detect small molecule interactions with any class of proteins within in their native cellular context. These data are then run through the company’s data portal that combines the company’s chemoproteomic data with publicly available data to help identify new pockets on previously undruggable targets. This approach, the company states, will help address the 90% of targets that don’t have a known, addressable binding site.
Two-year-old emerging oncology biotech Tavros, on the other hand, seeks to identify new drug targets using a functional and computational genomics approach. The upfront payment of $17.5 million from Vividion eclipses the roughly $10 million the company has raised to date from private investors and a seed round. The potential payout of $930 million, if the program is fully implemented and successful is transformational and puts the company’s drug discovery engine on the map.
It’s proprietary bi-directional platform “represents the next generation of synthetic lethality—designed to be faster, more precise and more flexible than previous approaches in discovering paired genetic interactions for first-in-class targeted cancer drugs and new scientific targets and biomarkers, to accelerate the discovery of de-risked, druggable targets to improve outcomes, minimize toxicity and hasten therapeutic development,” according to information provided by the company.
“Despite decades of effort, many targets remain inaccessible to traditional small molecule drugs, and many others have uncertain relevance to disease,” said Vividion Therapeutics CEO Jeffrey Hatfield. “This collaboration brings together two orthogonal, highly innovative and synergistic approaches to drug discovery that will address both of these challenges. 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. We believe this powerful combination of leading-edge technologies has the potential to deliver multiple breakthrough discoveries for cancer patients in need.”
San Diego-based Vividion was acquired by Bayer AG in May, 2021 for $1.5 billion with an additional $500 million available for achieving certain milestones. It has a preclinical pipeline focused mainly on oncology drugs, and in 2020 inked a collaboration with Roche focused on directing small molecules to E3 ligases as well as a range of oncology and immunology therapeutic targets. That deal provided an upfront payment of $135 million to Vividion with Roche holding exclusive right to license resulting compounds at different stages of development.