Source: nicolas_ / Getty Images
Credit: nicolas_ / Getty Images

Precision medicine therapy developer Blueprint Medicines and AI-powered Proteovant Therapeutics have announced a collaboration aimed at discovering and developing novel targeted protein degrader therapies to address areas of medical need. Targeted protein degradation harnesses the body’s natural protein disposal system and offers the potential to develop new medicines that target what to date have been some of the difficult-to-drug proteins known to influence serious diseases.

Under the terms of the agreement, Proteovant will receive a $20 million upfront payment with the potential to receive as much as $632 million in milestone payments. The deal also provides a tiered royalties component in the mid- to high-single digits on net sales on the first two program targets, subject to adjustment in specified circumstances. Of the total contingent payments, up to $105 million would be preclinical, clinical development and regulatory milestones and up to $527 million would be approval and sales milestones.

The collaboration will combine Proteovant’s Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enhanced targeted protein degradation (TPD) platform with Blueprint’s expertise in developing precision medicines to discover novel targeted protein degraders. Central to the the collaboration, Proteovant’s exclusive partner for TPD, VantAI, will deploy its leading AI technologies for degrader generation and optimization.

“Recent scientific advancements in the field of targeted protein degradation have revealed opportunities to expand our core kinase capabilities and explore new ways to treat difficult to drug and novel targets, as well as address on-target resistance mechanisms,” said Fouad Namouni, M.D., president of research and development at Blueprint Medicines, in a press release. “This collaboration with Proteovant Therapeutics will enable us to expand our platform more quickly in our mission to improve outcomes for patients with cancer and blood disorders.”

The companies will jointly research targets identified in the collaboration with the goal of advancing into development two novel protein degrader therapies. Upon designation of a clinical development candidate, Blueprint Medicines has the exclusive option to develop and commercialize products resulting from the collaboration. Proteovant has the option to co-develop and co-commercialize the second of the two Blueprint Medicines-optioned programs in the U.S.

Each company will be responsible for its own costs under the research plan. Should Proteovant opt in to the second program, the parties will split profits and losses of that program equally in the U.S. along with development costs and the milestone payments for the program will be reduced accordingly. Proteovant will be eligible to receive milestone payments and royalties on ex-U.S. sales. The two companies may also opt to extend the collaboration to two additional targets, through additional funding from Blueprint, with the same structure and financial terms.

“Protein degradation is one of the most promising areas of drug discovery and presents us with the opportunity to discover potent, selective, well-tolerated and potentially more effective therapeutics that can reach previously undruggable targets,” said Drew Fromkin, CEO, Proteovant. “We have created a powerful degrader discovery engine that harnesses the synergies of Proteovant’s deep drug hunting expertise with VantAI’s proprietary AI platform driven by its Protein Contact First approach.”

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