- Pfizer Inc. and private biotech Arvinas Inc. have entered a multi-year research collaboration aimed at finding and advancing drugs that break down disease-causing proteins.
- Arvinas could take home up to $830 million in upfront and milestone payments from the deal and, should any drugs from the collaboration make it to market, the Connecticut-based drugmaker would also receive tiered royalties based on global sales.
- The companies are ultimately looking to develop "clinical candidates designed to degrade several key disease-causing proteins in multiple therapeutic areas," according to a Thursday statement.
Problematic proteins are responsible for a wide range of illnesses. Research has suggested that misfolded proteins contribute to the development of Type 2 diabetes as well as neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Huntington's and Parkinson's. Mutated proteins can lead to cancer, while rare diseases can be caused by a deficiency in proteins.
Through its new research deal with Arvinas, Pfizer plans on exploring protein-degrading treatments for oncology and internal medicine, though other therapeutics areas may come into the fold down the line, a spokesperson for the big drugmaker told BioPharmaDive.
Those broad targets make sense, given that the lion's share of Pfizer's revenue comes from its Innovative Health unit, which houses the company's internal medicine, vaccines, oncology, and inflammation and immunology products.
Each of those subgroups raked in at least $1 billion during the third quarter, helping the Innovative Health unit achieve a nearly 11% revenue increase year-over-year. Headwinds of course remain, however. The basic product patent for Lyrica (pregabalin), Pfizer's top-selling internal medicine drug, expires in December 2018 in the U.S. While the Food and Drug Administration recently approved a longer-acting version of Lyrica, it's unclear exactly how many patients may switch over.
Looking ahead, it wouldn't be all that unreasonable for Pfizer to use Arvinas' technology in the realms of rare disease and neuroscience as well. The big pharma already has a dedicated business for rare diseases, one that brings in more than $500 million per quarter yet has seen revenue declines over the first nine months of 2017.
Pfizer's presence in neuroscience disorders is surely more muted, but the company has shown interest. Earlier this week, it announced a partnership with Sangamo Therapeutics Inc. focused on developing a gene therapy for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).