More molecular glue: Plexium pens AbbVie pact months after Amgen deal
A few months after its deal with Amgen, San Diego-based biotech Plexium has inked a deal with another Big Pharma – this time, it’s AbbVie.
While Amgen’s deal focused on the cancer space, AbbVie hopes to use Plexium’s “agnostic” targeted protein degradation (TPD) platform to screen for new therapies for neurological diseases, Plexium announced today.
The deal includes $35 million upfront and $530 million in downstream milestones, along with future royalties for each of the five unspecified targets that Plexium will be screening for new therapies, Plexium CEO Percival Barretto-Ko told Endpoints News.
TPD takes advantage of the body’s pre-existing protein destruction system via “molecular glues” and monovalent degraders that help jumpstart that destruction process, what Barretto-Ko says is “quite an elegant therapeutic approach.” Plexium’s high-throughput screening platform, which Barretto-Ko emphasizes doesn’t focus on any single modality, allows a “direct measure of degradation,” he said.
With the AbbVie deal, Plexium plans on putting that platform to work in neurological diseases, focusing on five targets to begin with, though Barretto-Ko did not disclose what those targets were.
Started in 2019, Plexium is an emerging player in the TPD space, which features many other companies including Kymera, Lycia, and C4 Therapeutics.
Barretto-Ko notes that the AbbVie deal is “one of a trilogy of events” for Plexium, starting with their Amgen deal as well as their $102 million financing round from SoftBank just a few weeks after.
“It’s no secret that the market has been very difficult out there for a lot of different biotech companies,” Barretto-Ko said. However, with their recent financing and deals, “It not only validates the platform and the programs that we have … It allows us to head down and do the work we do best, and be thoughtful and intentful in terms of what potential next steps we might consider.”