Merck, Proxygen sign $2.5B molecular glue degrader deal

April 5, 2023

Austria-based biotech Proxygen just signed a research collaboration and license agreement with Merck & Co (MSD outside the U.S. and Canada) to jointly develop molecular glue degraders for therapeutic targets.

While the companies did not disclose the amount that was paid upfront by Merck, Proxygen will be eligible for future payments of up to $2.55 billon based on the development of the programs. 

Molecular glue degraders work by acting as a ‘glue’ between the target protein and a cellular protein degradation machinery, causing the target protein to be broken down and cleared from the body. This approach has the potential to target proteins that have previously been considered untreatable with traditional small-molecule drugs. Since its establishment in 2020, Proxygen has focused on developing a  ligase-agnostic screening approach  that enables “unbiased identification of molecular glue degraders at a large scale.” 

The company entered a similar deal with Merck KGaA (MilliporeSigma in the U.S.) last year. Under the terms of that agreement, Proxygen was eligible to receive up to €495 million ($554 million) in funding, and milestone payments.