Blueprint partners up with a degrader-focused 'vant' as part of pipeline-boosting campaign
Part of Vivek Ramaswamy and Matt Gline’s expansive universe of “vants,” the little-known degrader play Proteovant has silently been chipping away for more than a year. Now, Blueprint Medicines will take a bet on that biotech and its AI-focused sister firm.
Blueprint will pay $20 million upfront and a potential $632 million in additional downstream milestones for two protein degrader programs from Proteovant with the option to add two more programs to the slate, the partners said Monday.
Blueprint will hold exclusive development and commercialization rights to both programs with Proteovant keeping an option to take 50% of those responsibilities for the second program, according to a release.
Cobbled together back in late 2020 as Roivant’s platform for protein degraders after its acquisition of Oncopia Therapeutics, Proteovant’s tie-up with Blueprint is the biotech’s first and one in a growing string of licensing deals around buzzy degrader technology.
According to its website, Proteovant is developing degraders that work by binding target proteins and E3 ligases together, effectively marking those proteins for destruction. It’s an approach similar to that of “molecular glues,” which leverage the body’s natural processes to eliminate unwanted proteins.
Meanwhile, the company is also bringing along sister biotech VantAI as part of the deal, with plans to use that firm’s computational biology approach to discover the lead programs.
For Blueprint, a move into protein degradation comes as the small pharma looks to the future after longtime CEO Jeff Albers steps down from the role April 4 with plans to hand the reins over to COO Kate Haviland. Albers, who handled the company’s transition from biotech with the approval of Ayvakit back in early 2020, will sidestep into the chairman role with the firm.
With that initial approval in hand, Blueprint has been working hard to find its next winner, seeding its pipeline with some big-dollar deals. In November, the company bought a preclinical candidate from Lengo Therapeutics for $250 million upfront and more than $215 million in milestones. For that deal, Blueprint bet on a non-small cell lung cancer program that Albers said has the potential to inhibit all common EGFR exon 20 insertion variants.
The Proteovant deal plans to target oncology as well as hematology, the companies said.