With the PeptiDream agreement, Astellas incorporates protein degraders

Astellas Partners with PeptiDream to Develop Protein Degraders

Source – Astellas 

Astellas has continued its focus on protein degrader drugs, announcing its second partnership in this category in just two months. The recent agreement with Japanese biotech PeptiDream involves an upfront payment of 3 billion yen ($21 million) and covers two undisclosed targets, each with the potential to generate up to 20.6 billion yen (approximately $146 million) in discovery, development, and sales milestones. Additionally, Astellas has the option to partner on up to three more targets.

This collaboration with PeptiDream follows closely after Astellas’ $35 million upfront payment to partner with the US start-up Cullgen on multiple protein degrader programs, which could be worth up to $1.9 billion.

Protein degrader drugs leverage the cell’s natural protein-denaturing machinery to eliminate disease-associated rogue proteins, offering a potential solution to address challenging “undruggable” targets.

Astellas has made protein degradation a key part of its research and development strategy and has already progressed its in-house candidate, ASP3082, into Phase I testing. ASP3082 is a novel protein degrader that targets the mutated KRAS G12D and belongs to the same class as Amgen’s Lumakras (sotorasib) and Mirati’s Krazati (adagrasib).

Apart from this new collaboration with PeptiDream, Astellas also has a smaller $180 million alliance with the Massachusetts-based start-up Generian. This partnership focuses on discovering and developing small-molecule drugs capable of activating, stabilizing, or degrading proteins.

To harness PeptiDream’s PDPS (Peptide Discovery Platform System) technology, which produces macrocyclic peptides functioning as medicines or targeting mechanisms for therapeutic payloads, Astellas aims to strengthen its position in the field. The platform has attracted significant deals with other biopharma companies, such as Eli Lilly and Merck & Co, who have expanded their partnerships with PeptiDream, committing billions of dollars to enhance their programs.

“Targeted Protein Degradation is one of the Primary Focuses of Astellas. We hope this collaboration will bring synergies between the two companies’ cutting-edge research and will ultimately lead to the expansion of Astellas’ portfolio and development of new therapeutics for patients with significant unmet medical needs.”

– Adam Pearson, Chief Strategy Officer, Astellas

PeptiDream has a total of 11 pharma partners, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Genentech, Janssen, Novartis, Takeda, Taiho Pharma, and ONO Pharma. Additionally, PeptiDream is actively working on its in-house projects in Duchenne muscular dystrophy and influenza.

“This transaction further validates the potential of our PDPS technology to obtain highly selective peptides, which enables creative approaches in the area of targeted protein degraders. We believe that through this research collaboration, we can leverage the strengths of both companies to advance the development of innovative drugs.”

– Keiichi Masuya, Chief Operating Officer, PeptiDream

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