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Degron Therapeutics, Takeda Ink Exclusive License and Collaboration Agreement to Develop Molecule Degraders Targeting Multiple Indications


Joint venture expected to utilize Degron’s GlueXplorer platform to identify, validate, and optimize molecular glue degraders.

Illustration of multiple enzymes working in tandem to degrade cancerous cells. Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/saichon

Image Credit: Adobe Stock Images/saichon

Degron Therapeutics announced that it has agreed to terms on a collaboration with Takeda, which will utilize its GlueXplorer to develop molecular glue degraders targeting oncology, neuroscience, and inflammation. Upon completion of the initial stages, Takeda will take over for further development and commercialization. Under terms of the deal, Degron will receive an upfront payment, with the opportunity to receive up to $1.2 billion in milestone payments and tiered royalties on sales. The deal also includes an equity investment by Takeda in Degron and the option to expand to additional targets.1

"We are excited to collaborate with Takeda, expanding the use of our platform into new therapeutic areas," said Lily Zou, PhD, co-founder, CEO, Degron Therapeutics, in a press release. "Degron's differentiated and powerful GlueXplorer platform has been validated by its robust, first-in-class pipeline of novel molecular glue drugs for disease targets that are undruggable by other modalities or better addressed with this new modality. By partnering with Takeda, we combine our molecular glue discovery expertise with Takeda's vast drug development and commercialization experience in hopes of offering patients worldwide a new class of treatments."

In 2022, Degron raised $22 million at the close of a Series A financing round. Led by Med-Fine Capital and with contributions by investors such as Dyee Capital, Baidu Venture, and NeuX Capital, the proceeds were used to advance the GlueXplorer program.2

"We are pleased to have such strong support from this syndicate of blue-chip investors who recognize the potential of our industry-leading platform to build a new type of biotechnology company," said Zou, in a press release. "Small-molecule drugs have been the mainstay of disease treatments, but most disease targets remain undruggable. Our GlueXplorer platform has already yielded several preclinical candidates in disease areas including cancer, inflammatory diseases, and rare diseases. Our team of accomplished entrepreneurs, scientists, and clinicians, is poised to usher in a step-change in how we treat undruggable targets to realize our goal of significantly improving patients' lives."

Also in 2022, Degron provided a look at its research into lenalidomide, a molecular glue degrader of IKZF1 and IKZF3 with the capability to enhance the potential of the programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) antibody to treat cancer. Research published in Cell Chemical Biology indicated that lenalidomide can co-stimulate CD8+ T cells in the absence of CD28 receptors through the use of a humanized mouse model of cereblon (CRBN). Further, the research found that lenalidomide could co-stimulate T cells by upregulating the secretion of the immune system signaling molecule, interleukin-2 (IL2).3

"Science-based innovation is core to Degron's exploration into the mechanisms of molecular glue drugs and cancer immunity. The work performed in Dr. Cang's lab reveals that degradation of IKZF1 and IKZF3, can reinvigorate T cells to attack cancers by modulating immune regulatory networks," said Zou, in a press release. "This discovery provides new ideas for Degron to dial in such activities into our molecular glue programs when appropriate."


1. Degron Therapeutics Announces Multi-Target Collaboration and Exclusive License Agreement with Takeda to Discover Molecular Glue Degraders. PR Newswire. May 23, 2024. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/degron-therapeutics-announces-multi-target-collaboration-and-exclusive-license-agreement-with-takeda-to-discover-molecular-glue-degraders-302152086.html

2. Degron Therapeutics Raises $22M Series A Financing to Accelerate Growth and Expand Molecular-Glue-Based Targeted Protein Degradation Drug Discovery Platform. PR Newswire. June 9, 2022. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/degron-therapeutics-raises-22m-series-a-financing-to-accelerate-growth-and-expand-molecular-glue-based-targeted-protein-degradation-drug-discovery-platform-301564230.html

3. Degron Therapeutics Co-Founder Provides New Strategy for Molecular Glue in Tumor Immunotherapy. PR Newswire. June 27, 2022. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/degron-therapeutics-co-founder-provides-new-strategy-for-molecular-glue-in-tumor-immunotherapy-301575356.html

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