Genentech Partners with Orionis Biosciences to Discover and Develop Molecular Glue Class Medicines

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In the Lab eNewsletter, Pharmaceutical Technology's In the Lab eNewsletter, October 2023, Volume 18, Issue 10

Under the collaboration, Orionis will receive $47 million upfront to leverage its Allo-Glue platform to discover small-molecule monovalent glues.

On Sept. 20, 2023, Orionis Biosciences, a privately held US-based life sciences company with an integrated drug discovery and chemical biology platform, announced that it has entered into a multi-year collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, under which the companies will discover novel small-molecule therapeutics for challenging disease targets, including oncology and neurodegeneration.

Under the agreement, Orionis will discover and optimize molecular glues using its Allo-Glue platform. The molecular glues will be used for Genentech’s designated targets. For its part, Genentech will take care of subsequent later-stage preclinical, clinical development, regulatory filing, and commercialization of such small molecules discovered through the collaboration. Orionis will get an upfront payment of $47 million and will also be eligible to receive development milestone payments, including commercial and net sales milestone payments, that may exceed $2 billion. The company can also receive a tiered royalty upon sale of collaboration products.

Orionis’s Allo-Glue platform works by using multiple unique approaches to discover drug-like small molecules against disease targets, particularly targets that have remained elusive to traditional discovery approaches. The platform is built on the integration of a suite of proprietary chemical biology technologies, including biological assays, computational analyses, chemical libraries, and automated processes. The platform allows for high throughput discovery, rational design, and optimization of small molecules that promote or induce interactions of proteins in living cells. Such molecules include molecular glues which have been shown to promote interactions that lead to either target degradation (via a ligase) or modulation of target function (via either direct or allosteric mechanisms), according to a company press release.

“Molecular glues represent one of the most exciting recent developments in small-molecule drug discovery. We are thrilled to collaborate with Genentech, a company long known for its world-class science and trailblazing medicines, to make use of technological innovations that we have systematically evolved over the past years to unlock novel target space with such drug modalities,” said Nikolai Kley, co-founder and CEO of Orionis Biosciences, in the press release. “We could not be more excited about the potential for this pioneering collaboration to lead to impactful new treatment paradigms.”


“Molecular glue degraders are an exciting modality to target disease-related proteins that have proven challenging with more traditional treatment modalities,” said James Sabry, global head, Roche Pharma Partnering, in the press release. “For patients with unmet needs, this offers a new therapeutic approach to modulate major disease drivers. This collaboration enables us to apply the concept of targeted protein degradation to discover and develop medicines for patients with serious and life-threatening diseases.”

Source: Orionis Biosciences