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Bayer Acquiring Therapeutic Peptides in $1.1B+ Deal

Lab flasks

(Republica, Pixabay)

20 November 2017. Bayer AG, the global drug maker and agricultural chemical company, is partnering with a Japanese biologics enterprise to discover a series of peptides for therapies. The deal could bring PeptiDream Inc. in Kawasaki, Japan more than $1.1 billion if all parts of the agreement are completed.

PeptiDream discovers therapeutic peptides, short chains of amino acids that are somewhat similar chemically to proteins but smaller. The company’s discovered peptides, known as constrained peptides and macrocyclics, are small enough to penetrate cell membranes as well as work on cell-surface targets, and can be configured into oral drugs. But these peptides are also large and robust enough to disrupt interactions among proteins, which can be difficult to address with traditional drug compounds and some biologics.

After initial discovery, PeptiDream can also develop its peptides into candidates for peptide therapies or more conventional small-molecule or low molecular weight drugs that address biologic targets. In addition, the company says it can create peptide-drug conjugates that use the ability of peptides to find specific molecular targets, but also deliver drug compound cargoes to those precise targets, making them safer than conventional drugs in many cases.

In the agreement with Bayer, the two companies are collaborating on discovery of peptide and macrocyclics to address an undisclosed number of targets determined by Bayer, using PeptiDream’s platform. The two companies will also refine the discovered molecules into therapeutic peptide and small molecular drug candidates. The license gives Bayer rights to develop and commercialize all of the identified candidates. Bayer also has an option to negotiate for an extension of the license to add candidates for peptide-drug conjugates, as well as diagnostics, bioimaging, and agricultural applications.

The deal provides PeptiDream with an undisclosed initial payment and research funds. The company is also eligible for payments at the completion of preclinical, clinical, and commercialization milestones equaling $1.11 billion if all are fulfilled. PeptiDream will be eligible as well for royalties on sales of Bayer products from the collaboration.

While the license with Bayer is not an exclusive arrangement, PeptiDream says it’s the most extensive so far. “This is one of the broadest discovery deals PeptiDream has entered into,” notes PeptiDream CEO Patrick Reid in a company statement, “covering peptide therapeutics and small molecule therapeutics, and options to peptide drug conjugates, diagnostic agents, bioimaging agents, and more.”

In the past 7 years, says the company, it crafted deals with 17 pharmaceutical companies, most recently Kleo Pharmaceuticals in July 2017. Five other drug makers also licensed PeptiDream’s entire discovery platform.

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