Pharma Focus Europe

Orionis Biosciences and Genentech Collaborate to Explore Molecular Glue Class Medicines

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Orionis Biosciences, a privately-owned company specializing in life sciences with an integrated drug discovery and chemical biology platform, has announced a multi-year collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. Their partnership aims to identify novel small molecule medications targeting challenging disease areas, including oncology and neurodegenerative disorders.

Orionis Biosciences has unveiled its Allo-Glue™ platform, which employs multiple unique methods to identify small molecules suitable for drug development, particularly for elusive disease targets. This platform integrates a suite of proprietary chemical biology technologies, including biological assays, computational analyses, chemical libraries, and automated processes. These elements enable high-throughput discovery, rational design, and optimization of small molecules capable of facilitating protein interactions within living cells. These interactions can lead to either target degradation via various ligases or the modulation of target function through direct or allosteric mechanisms. Orionis combines both target-centric and ligase-driven discovery paradigms synergistically in its overall approach to molecular glue discovery.

Per the collaboration agreement, Orionis will lead the discovery and optimization of molecular glues for specific targets designated by Genentech. Genentech, in turn, will manage later-stage preclinical and clinical development, regulatory filings, and the commercialization of these small molecules. As part of this collaboration, Orionis will receive an initial payment of $47 million and will also be eligible for additional payments tied to development milestones, commercial success, and net sales, which could collectively surpass $2 billion. Furthermore, Orionis stands to earn a tiered royalty upon the sale of collaboration products.

Nikolai Kley, Co-Founder and CEO of Orionis Biosciences, expressed great enthusiasm for the collaboration's potential to redefine treatment strategies and unlock new avenues in molecular glue research.

Riccardo Sabatini, Orionis Chief Data Scientist, highlighted the integration of biological, chemical, and computational technologies and their role in molecular glue discovery.

James Sabry, Global Head of Roche Pharma Partnering, emphasized the significance of molecular glue degraders as a promising modality for targeting challenging disease-related proteins, offering a novel therapeutic approach for patients with unmet medical needs. This collaboration positions them to harness targeted protein degradation concepts to develop life-saving medicines for patients facing severe diseases.

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