Arvinas to Launch IPO to Raise $100 Million
Arvinas focuses on developing a new class of drugs based on protein degradation. At its most basic, this involves attaching a molecule to an unwanted protein, bringing it to the attention of the cell’s garbage disposal, the proteasome. The company’s two lead programs target the androgen receptor for castration-resistant prostate cancer and the estrogen receptor for ER+ breast cancer.
In April, at the time of the Series C financing, John Houston, president and chief executive officer of Arvinas, stated, “This past year has been exciting for us with two clinical candidate nominations, the expansion of our collaboration with Genentech and the announcement of a new collaboration with Pfizer. With this additional financial support from existing and new investors who believe in our innovative protein degradation platform, we will continue executing on our strategy of progressing our lead programs to the clinic, expanding the use of the platform outside of oncology, and tackling undruggable targets.”
Arvinas’ PROTAC platform uses the cell’s natural and selective ubiquitin-proteasome system to degrade disease-causing proteins. Instead of inhibiting proteins, which is the way most small-molecule drugs act, protein degradation eliminates the protein altogether using the cells’ natural “trash removal” processes.
Arvinas originally partnered with Roche/Genentech in 2015. In November 2017, the two companies expanded the license agreement to add additional disease targets and expand the collaboration. Under the revised deal, Arvinas is eligible for development and commercialization milestone payments greater than $650 million, as well as tiered royalties on product sales.
In January 2018, Arvinas inked a deal with Pfizer to discover and develop drug candidates using PROTAC. Arvinas will handle the discovery program and Pfizer will take care of clinical development and commercialization of any products identified. Arvinas may receive up to $830 million in upfront and development and commercialization milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties.
At the time, John Ludwig, Head of Medicinal Sciences at Pfizer, stated, “Protein degradation is an area of considerable interest for us, and we look forward to working with Arvinas to determine the potential applicability of this approach across multiple therapeutic areas.”
The April Series C was led by a new investor, Nextech Invest, with participation from other new investors, Deerfield Management, Hillhouse Capital, and Sirona Capital. All existing investors also participated, including Canaan Partners, 5AM Ventures, RA Capital Management, OrbiMed, and New Leaf Venture Partners.
Protein degradation may very well be the next hot area of drug development. Other companies working in the area include C4 Therapeutics, Kymera Therapeutics, and Benevolent AI. Pfizer and Genentech aren’t the only big players interested. Other companies with programs include GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis.