Bay Area Biotech Forges Multi-Year Research Deal with Genentech

GenentechA little less than two years after tying up a multi-billion deal with SanofiDiCE Molecules scored another collaborative deal. The Bay Area company inked a multi-year collaborative agreement with Genentech to discover new small molecules.

DiCE said this morning that Genentech will use its unique technology platform to discover the molecules that will then be used against “multiple targets of interest to Genentech.” DiCE Chief Executive Officer Kevin Judice said the collaboration with Genentech “speaks to the potential” of the company’s technology “to address previously intractable, but very important targets with novel chemical matter.”

DiCE’s technology is focused on using directed chemical evolution to select and optimize low molecular weight compounds that are then used against important pharmaceutical targets such as protein-protein interfaces. DiCE’s specialty is developing oral medications that work in place of traditional large-protein based injectable antibodies used for the treatment of cancer or rheumatoid arthritis. Successful development of an oral medication would likely make the drugs highly sought after since they would not need the same low-temperature storage requirements that many injectable drugs do.

With the Sanofi deal forged in March 2016, DiCE has the potential to snag up to $2.3 billion. The two companies are working together to discover up to 12 new oral therapies in favor of injectable medications. DiCE’s business model is built on revenues from collaborative deals such as the ones with Sanofi and Genentech. The company is using its technology platform to create a self-financing business through the achievement of milestone payments from those deals. Financial details of the deal with Genentech deal were undisclosed, though. In its announcement, DiCE said it will receive an upfront financial payment and will be eligible to receive additional research, development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments should certain goals be reached.

 “DiCE’s unique technology naturally complements Genentech’s efforts in small molecule drug discovery and offers the potential to unlock some of the most challenging targets, including those that were once thought to be undruggable,” James Sabry, global head of Genentech Partnering, said in a statement.

Judice told Endpoints News that the deal with Genentech was finalized a few weeks ago and the two companies have already had their first project meetings. Since DiCE and Sanofi signed the agreement in 2016, the company has grown three-fold from seven employees to 25. Judice told Endpoints that the company is likely to continue growing, particularly following the new agreement with Genentech.

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