Within Months of Deals with Genentech and Pfizer, Arvinas Raises $55M
Arvinas, based in New Haven, Connecticut, closed a $55 million Series C financing round. It was led by a new investor, Nextech Invest, with new investors Deerfield Management, Hillhouse Capital, and Sirona Capital joining in. All existing investors participated, including Canaan Partners, 5AM Ventures, RA Capital Management, OrbiMed, and New Leaf Venture Partners.
The funds will be used to advance Arvinas’ two lead programs into the clinic. One targets the androgen receptor for castration resistant prostate cancer. The other targets the estrogen receptor for ER+ positive breast cancer.
“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,” said John Houston, Arvinas’ president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “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.”
In November 2017, Arvinas expanded an ongoing licensing deal with Genentech to develop new drugs using Arvinas’ PROTAC technology. The original deal was formulated in October 2015. Under the new terms, Arvinas is eligible for more than $650 million in development and commercial milestones. The original deal was for $300 million. Arvinas is also eligible for tiered royalties on sales of any products that come out of the collaboration.
On January 4, 2018, Arvinas inked a research collaboration and license deal with Pfizer to use PROTAC to create small molecule therapeutics. Under the terms of the deal, Arvinas is eligible for up to $830 million in upfront and potential development and commercialization milestone payments. It may be entitled to tiered royalties based on global product sales that come out of the collaboration.
“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,” John Ludwig, head of Medicinal Sciences for Pfizer, said in a statement at the time.
PROTAC directly removes target proteins instead of inhibiting them. This is believed to have several advantages over the more traditional small molecule inhibitors. PROTACs stands for PROteolysis Targeting Chimeras, which degrade disease-causing cellular proteins by way of proteolysis. The platform was developed in the Yale University laboratory of Craig Crews, who is the company’s founder and chief scientific advisor.
As part of today’s financing, Jakob Loven, partner with Nextech Invest, will join Arvinas’ board of directors.
“The Arvinas PROTAC platform is an elegant, novel therapeutic modality that circumvents delivery challenges associated with existing therapeutic approaches to eliminate protein function,” Loven said in a statement. “And Arvinas has proven to be the clear leader in developing a new era of targeted medicines using its protein degradation technology.”
Protein degradation is a hot new area of drug development, utilizing the cells’ natural “garbage disposal” known as the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Because this system, which removes waste materials from the cells, exists throughout the body, it has applications to numerous diseases. Other companies focused on the technology include C4 Therapeutics and Kymera, with Celgene, Takeda, GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis joining in.