Astellas Pharma has entered a research partnership and licence agreement with PeptiDream for the discovery of new targeted protein degraders.

Under the deal, the companies will work on discovering protein degraders for two targets that are chosen by Astellas. 

Astellas also holds the option to choose up to three further targets under the collaboration.

The parties intend to merge the peptide discovery platform system (PDPS) technology of PeptiDream with the drug discovery expertise of Astellas for discovering several novel protein degraders that act on varying targets, which are beyond current technologies’ scope. 

Astellas will handle the development and marketing of products developed under this partnership.

As per the agreement terms, PeptiDream is entitled to receive $21m (Y3bn) in upfront payment from Astellas. 

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Astellas will also make milestone payments totalling up to $145m per target to PeptiDream, on meeting discovery, development and commercial sales goals. 

Furthermore, PeptiDream will also receive royalty payments on net product sales.

Astellas chief strategy officer Adam Pearson said: “Targeted protein degradation is one of the primary focuses of Astellas. 

“We hope this collaboration will bring synergies between the two companies’ cutting-edge research and will ultimately lead to the expansion of Astellas’ portfolio and development of new therapeutics for patients with significant unmet medical needs.”

The latest development comes after Astellas signed an agreement to licence 4D Molecular Therapeutics’ R100 vector for a genetic target linked to rare monogenic ophthalmic diseases.