San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company Biotheryx, Inc. is teaming up with multinational pharmaceutical giant Incyte to tackle “undruggable” cancers.
The two companies announced their collaboration and license agreement on April 5.
Under the terms of the agreement, Biotheryx will identify and initially develop molecular glue degraders – a cutting-edge technology pioneered by Biotheryx founder David Stirling that can locate specific proteins within the cells of a patient and return those proteins’ degradation mechanism that exists in all cells in the body, allowing the the disease-causing protein to be destroyed by the body’s natural process.
“This research collaboration with Incyte is going after completely novel targets – proteins that haven’t yet been successfully targeted with any other technology,” said Biotherys CEO Philippe Drouet. “It’s very ambitious it really wants to push the boundaries of what we can do in science today by leveraging this emerging molecular glue protein degradation to go after those so-called ‘undruggable’ proteins.”
The collaboration to tackle these novel targets will utilize Biotheryx’ PRODEGY platform, which is designed to increase efficiency in degrader discovery and design.
“We look forward to leveraging this differentiated approach in our collaboration with Incyte and in the continued advancement of our pipeline of first-in-class, next generation bifunctional degraders and molecular glues for the treatment of cancers and inflammatory disease,” Drouet said.
For the initial target, Biotheryx will receive from Incyte a technology access fee of $7 million plus up to an additional $6 million in potential research and development funding for costs associated with the collaboration. Biotheryx is also eligible to receive potential future regulatory and commercial milestones of up to $347 million along with tiered single-digit royalties on global net product sales for the initial target. Additionally, under the terms of the agreement, the collaboration can be expanded under the same financial terms. Further financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Incyte will be solely responsible for further development and commercialization of any molecular glue degraders discovered by Biotheryx’s PRODEGY platform.
“As we work to transform the oncology treatment landscape, Incyte is harnessing breakthrough science that may offer patients with unmet needs new treatment options,” said Dashyant Dhanak, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief scientific officer of Incyte. “The Biotheryx team has significant expertise in targeted protein degradation, one of the most promising modalities in oncology, and we look forward to collaborating to develop therapies that can help improve patient lives.”
The collaboration with Incyte is the latest in Biotheryx’ pipeline of protein degraders, which is mostly focused on oncology, but also includes research into inflammatory diseases.
“We’re going after difficult to treat targets where protein degradation can give benefits compared to other approaches,” Drouet said, citing the example of breast cancers that that have already developed resistance to other treatments.
“If all goes well, next year in 2024 we’ll be able to kick off studies in patients who have breast cancer in collaboration with hospitals across the country,” Drouet said.
Biotheryx’s most advanced pipeline project is BTX-1188, which has already received FDA authorization and clinical studies kicked off last year. After dosing the first patients, the company paused the study to do research on improving the formulation to increase the drug’s absorption in the body.
CEO: Phillipe Drouet
Headquarters: San Digo, UTC
Business: Biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing a portfolio of first-in-class protein degraders.
Notable: Biotheryx founder David Stirling is the creator of the very first protein degraders – and the only protein degraders approved by the FDA. They were created at Celgene and used to treat multiple myeloma.