Multi-year, multi-program R&D partnership to deliver innovative treatment options across cancer and immunological diseases
Frontier eligible to receive up to $100 million in upfront and milestone payments within the first 12 months of collaboration
NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., – AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), 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, today 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.”
About Frontier Medicines
Frontier Medicines is a precision medicine company that has pioneered a proprietary discovery and development platform to develop medicines against disease-causing proteins previously considered undruggable. The company is deploying its groundbreaking scientific approaches in chemoproteomics, covalent drug discovery, and machine learning to develop medicines to treat a number of debilitating diseases, starting with cancer. In its quest to “drug the undruggable,” Frontier Medicines seeks to significantly broaden the therapeutic landscape with novel small molecule alternatives to change the course of a broad range of diseases. For more information, visit www.frontiermeds.com and follow us on LinkedIn.
AbbVie’s mission is to discover and deliver innovative medicines that solve serious health issues today and address the medical challenges of tomorrow. We strive to have a remarkable impact on people’s lives across several key therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, neuroscience, eye care, virology, women’s health and gastroenterology, in addition to products and services across its Allergan Aesthetics portfolio. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
Some statements in this news release are, or may be considered, forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “project” and similar expressions, among others, generally identify forward-looking statements. AbbVie cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, failure to realize the expected benefits from AbbVie’s acquisition of Allergan plc (“Allergan”), failure to promptly and effectively integrate Allergan’s businesses, competition from other products, challenges to intellectual property, difficulties inherent in the research and development process, adverse litigation or government action, changes to laws and regulations applicable to our industry and the impact of public health outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics, such as COVID-19. Additional information about the economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other factors that may affect AbbVie’s operations is set forth in Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” of AbbVie’s 2019 Annual Report on Form 10-K, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as updated by its subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. AbbVie undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments, except as required by law.