NEW YORK, BASEL, Switzerland and SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Roivant Sciences today unveiled its targeted protein degradation platform which includes novel degraders for multiple diseases across oncology, immunology, and neurology. The first therapeutic candidate to emerge from this platform is on track to enter the clinic in 2021. Roivant expects to build multiple future Vants around new drug candidates from this platform over time.
Target selection and molecule design for Roivant's protein degrader pipeline are currently powered by VantAI, a computational drug discovery platform with proprietary technologies to address the modality-specific challenges of designing and optimizing novel degrader candidates. VantAI began developing novel technologies for in silico drug design, target prediction, interactome mapping, and ADMET optimization in early 2019 and has designed degraders for six unique targets to date.
Roivant also recently completed the acquisition of Oncopia Therapeutics, a leading company focused on discovering and developing first-in-class and best-in-class targeted protein degraders. In addition, Roivant has expanded a research partnership with the University of Michigan to support research in the laboratory of Dr. Shaomeng Wang, Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor in Medicine and Professor of Internal Medicine, Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry. Dr. Wang is Director of the Michigan Center for Therapeutic Innovation, a co-founder of Oncopia Therapeutics, and a world-renowned scientist focused on the discovery of protein degraders.
Roivant's protein degradation platform is supported by SK Holdings, a strategic investment arm of SK Group in Korea focused on long-term investments in growth areas including new biopharmaceutical modalities. As part of a strategic partnership, SK Holdings has agreed to make a $200 million equity investment in the platform. This investment is subject to customary closing conditions, including required governmental approvals. Clinical and non-clinical evaluation and strategy for the Roivant degrader portfolio will be overseen by Dr. Roger Sidhu, Chief Medical Officer and Head of R&D at Roivant.
"We see targeted protein degradation as one of the most promising areas for novel drug discovery and we intend to build a leadership position in this field," said Vivek Ramaswamy, Founder and CEO of Roivant Sciences.
"SK Holdings and Roivant share many things in common, including our investment philosophy and our desire to improve upon the status quo by working together. We believe that AI-powered targeted protein degradation will not only improve inefficiencies in the pharmaceutical industry, but also generate significant social impact by tackling unmet medical needs," said Dong Hyun Jang, CEO of SK Holdings. "In addition to this partnership, we look forward to working together to innovate on other aspects of healthcare with a long-term vision."
"Degraders provide a unique opportunity to unlock difficult drug targets and tackle serious diseases," said Dr. Sidhu. "By combining our unique computational chemistry platform with validated degrader discovery approaches and by making additional investments in new capabilities, we plan to build an engine that will consistently deliver first-in-class and best-in-class degraders in multiple therapeutic areas."
About Targeted Protein Degradation
Targeted protein degradation is a therapeutic approach which offers the potential for improved potency and selectivity relative to conventional small molecule inhibition by harnessing the body's natural protein disposal system. Improved potency and selectivity can enable lower dosing and lower target occupancy to achieve efficacy and to avoid dose-limiting toxicities. In addition, degraders may be used to target proteins which are otherwise difficult to drug.
VantAI combines cutting-edge machine learning techniques with extensive systems biology expertise to build computational models which uncover hidden relationships between molecules, targets, and diseases. VantAI's in silico platform specializes in modelling complex protein-protein interactions. For more information, please visit www.vant.ai.
About SK Holdings Co., Ltd.
SK Holdings enhances its portfolio value by executing long-term investments in various business areas, including pharmaceuticals and life science, energy and chemicals, information and telecommunication, and semiconductors. In addition, SK Holdings is focused on reinforcing its growth foundations through profitable and practical management based on financial stability, while raising its enterprise value by investing in new future growth businesses. For more information, please visit http://hc.sk.co.kr/en/.
About Roivant Sciences
Roivant's mission is to improve the delivery of healthcare to patients by treating every inefficiency as an opportunity. Roivant develops transformative medicines faster by building technologies and developing talent in creative ways, leveraging the Roivant platform to launch Vants – nimble and focused biopharmaceutical and health technology companies. For more information, please visit www.roivant.com.
SOURCE Roivant Sciences