Roche has signed an exclusive worldwide option and licence agreement with US-based biotechnology firm Vividion Therapeutics to discover and develop small molecules for various therapeutic targets.

Under the alliance, Vividion Therapeutics will use its proteomics screening platform and small molecule library for E3 Ligases, as well as certain oncology and immunology targets.

E3 ligases are a class of proteins that direct target proteins to the proteasome for degradation. Small molecules directed to E3 ligases could possess the potential for a variety of therapeutic applications.

Roche holds the exclusive right to licence compounds resulting from the collaboration at different development stages.

Vividion Therapeutics president and chief business officer Dr Fred Aslan said: “Our proprietary platform has demonstrated the ability to identify molecules that can drug challenging protein classes, such as transcription factors, adaptor proteins and E3 ligases.

“We look forward to discovering new therapies with Roche while simultaneously advancing our wholly-owned pipeline.”

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By GlobalData

Under the agreement, Vividion will carry out early drug discovery and pre-clinical development for select programmes.

The company holds the right to perform clinical development up to proof-of-concept for a subset of programmes, with an option to share development costs and split profits and losses in the US with Roche.

Roche Pharma Partnering global head James Sabry said: “We are excited about Vividion’s approach to small molecule discovery and are looking forward to working with their team to discover potential new medicines for patients with cancer and immunological diseases.”

Roche will pay $135m in an upfront payment to Vividion, which is also eligible for several billion dollars in preclinical, development and commercial milestones, as well as sales royalties.

Last month, Roche entered a collaboration and licence agreement with Arrakis Therapeutics to discover RNA-targeted small molecule (rSM) drugs against various targets.