AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, and Frontier Medicines, Corp., a precision medicine company drugging challenging protein targets to develop breakthrough medicines that change the course of human diseases, announced a global strategic collaboration to discover, develop and commercialize a pipeline of innovative small molecule therapeutics against high-interest, difficult-to-drug protein targets.
Under the multi-year collaboration, AbbVie and Frontier will utilize Frontier's proprietary chemoproteomics platform to identify small molecules for programs directed to novel E3 ligases and certain oncology and immunology targets.
Whereas conventional drug discovery methodologies have been primarily successful against a relatively discrete set of target classes, chemoproteomics-based screening in relevant cellular contexts has the potential to enable targeting of a significantly broader range of proteins. By selecting certain immunology and oncology targets for the collaboration that are considered well validated but to date, inaccessible, the collaboration has the potential to develop highly differentiated and efficacious therapeutics.
Under the terms of the agreement, AbbVie will pay Frontier an upfront cash payment of $55 million, and Frontier is eligible to receive additional milestone payments. In addition, AbbVie will reimburse Frontier's R&D costs through defined stages of pre-clinical development. The companies will collaborate on the research and pre-clinical development of programs directed against E3 ligase, immunology and oncology targets. Upon successful completion of defined stages of pre-clinical development, AbbVie will assume full responsibility for global development and commercialization activities and costs for the programs. Frontier will retain an option to share development activities and expenses for certain oncology programs through the completion of Phase 2. Frontier will be eligible to receive success-based development and commercial milestone payments that could potentially exceed $1 billion, in addition to royalty payments on commercialized products. AbbVie retains the right to expand the collaboration in the future by exercising options to a defined number of additional targets. The collaboration excludes all of Frontier's internal programs for which Frontier retains exclusive global rights.
"AbbVie is focused on making investments in promising new technologies that assist us in our mission to develop innovative medicines," said Jose-Carlos Gutiérrez-Ramos, Ph.D., vice president, Discovery, AbbVie. "One of our key strategic focus areas is targeted protein degradation and chemoproteomics, and this collaboration with Frontier Medicines will be highly synergistic and complementary to our ongoing efforts."
"AbbVie's commitment to innovative therapies makes them an ideal partner in the development and commercialization of new medicines for cancer and immunological diseases," said Chris Varma, Ph.D., Frontier's co-founder, chairman, and CEO. "With our powerful chemoproteomics platform, we are greatly expanding the universe of therapeutic targets that can be accessed with small molecule drugs. This partnership enables us to build a shared pipeline of novel therapeutics with AbbVie, while Frontier continues to independently advance our internal programs into the clinic."