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Novartis inks US-$1.3bn deal with Dunad Therapeutics

Dunad Therapeutics Ltd had entered into a $1.3bn option deal with Swiss pharma major Novartis AG to develop targeted protein degrader therapies.

British start-up company Dunad Therapeutics has signed a collaboration and license agreement with Novartis AG to generate orally bioavailable covalent and protein degrading small molecule drugs.    Under the terms of the agreement, Dunad will receive $24m upfront and an equity investment, as well as significant research funding. Dunad will also be eligible for milestone payments that could aggregate to up to $1.3bn and royalties. Alongside the equity investment of Novartis, and the founding investor Epidarex Capital, BioGeneration Ventures (BGV) is joining Dunad as a new investor. Oskar Slotboom, General Partner at BGV, has joined Dunad’s Board of Directors.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dunad will apply its tunable and highly selective platform to generate novel covalent and targeted protein degrading small molecule drugs focusing on up to four drug targets agreed with Novartis. Dunad will also be responsible for program execution up to lead optimisation. Novartis will contribute target and ligand knowledge as well as access to unique assays and models and will fully fund the research collaboration. 

According to the licence option contract, Novartis has the option to clinically develop and commercialise products resulting from the four agreed research programs. Dunad’s platform uses mono-valent small molecules to induce selective degradation of disease-causing and undruggable proteins through direct modification of the target.