Genentech and PeptiDream expand peptide collaboration to explore radiopharmaceuticals for cancer

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Japanese biotech firm PeptiDream continues to attract significant interest from major pharmaceutical companies. Genentech, a long-term partner, has entered into a new licensing agreement, providing $40 million in upfront cash for access to PeptiDream’s peptide discovery platform. This platform is designed to identify peptides that can serve as targeting mechanisms for potential therapies. Once conjugated, these peptides can deliver payloads to specific targets, potentially providing potent therapeutic effects with manageable toxicity.

Genentech, a unit of Roche, initially recognized the potential of PeptiDream’s work in 2015 when it signed a deal to identify peptides against multiple targets. The collaboration expanded in subsequent years, with Genentech obtaining a nonexclusive license for PeptiDream’s Peptide Discovery Platform System in 2016 and further expanding the partnership in 2018.

The latest agreement with Genentech focuses on the development of radioisotope-peptide conjugates for multiple targets of interest to the Roche unit. PeptiDream will leverage its expertise to develop novel peptide binders that enable targeted delivery of radioisotopes. Preclinical development will be led by PeptiDream, followed by the transfer of radiopharmaceutical candidates to Genentech for further development and commercialization. PeptiDream retains the rights to develop and commercialize these drugs in Japan and stands to earn up to $1 billion in milestone payments, as well as royalties from Genentech’s global sales.

“We are extremely excited to announce this new collaboration with Genentech for the discovery and development of peptide-RI drug conjugates. PeptiDream is a global leader in the discovery and development of peptide-RI conjugates, and through our PDRadiopharma, is one of the leading radiopharmaceutical companies in Japan. Combining this expertise with Genentech’s powerful clinical development and commercialization capabilities, we hope to bring innovative first-in-class peptide radiopharmaceuticals to patients worldwide.” 

–  Patrick C. Reid PhD, President & CEO of PeptiDream  

This isn’t PeptiDream’s first foray into peptide-radioisotope conjugates. A previous collaboration with RayzeBio has resulted in the development of two tumor-targeting candidates. PeptiDream has also entered significant collaborations with other pharmaceutical giants, such as Merck & Co. and Eli Lilly, focusing on various forms of peptide-drug conjugates. Merck signed an agreement worth over $2 billion for peptide candidates conjugated to cytotoxic payloads, while Eli Lilly committed to a $1 billion milestone agreement centered on high-affinity macrocyclic peptide ligands. These collaborations highlight PeptiDream’s growing influence and prominence in the field of peptide-based drug discovery.

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