Arvinas and Pfizer have signed a research collaboration and license agreement relating to the discovery and development of protein degradation drug candidates.

The deal centers on the use of Arvinas’ proprietary PROTAC (PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras) Platform, a novel technology used to create small molecule therapeutics designed to degrade several key disease-causing proteins in multiple therapeutic areas.

According to Arvinas, this approach can potentially offer advantages over traditional small molecule inhibitors at it uses the cell’s own system to degrade disease-causing proteins.

“By removing target proteins directly rather than simply inhibiting them, PROTACs can provide multiple advantages over small molecule inhibitors which can require high systemic exposure to achieve sufficient inhibition, often resulting in toxic side effects and eventual drug resistance,” it claims.

The multi-year deal could potentially be worth $830 million in upfront and potential milestone payments to Arvinas, from multiple PROTAC programmes, and the firm also stands to receive tiered royalties from any products making it to market.

“Protein degradation is an area of considerable interest for us, and we look forward to working with Arvinas to determine the potential applicability of this approach across multiple therapeutic areas,” said John Ludwig, head of Medicinal Sciences, Pfizer.