Epidarex’s company-building model continues to deliver with Dunad’s $1.3 billion strategic collaboration with Novartis

  • Epidarex-built start-up signs major global development partnership within 18 months of launch.
  • Epidarex portfolio company will receive $24 million in an upfront payment and equity investment, significant research funding and up to $1.3 billion in discovery, development, regulatory, sales-based and royalty payments.
  • Dunad’s proprietary platform aims to generate novel oral covalent and protein-degrading small molecule drugs for multiple diseases.

Edinburgh, UK, November 2nd – Epidarex portfolio company Dunad Therapeutics enters into a $1.3 billion strategic collaboration with Novartis to develop next-generation protein degrader therapeutics.

Epidarex Capital portfolio company Dunad Therapeutics (“Dunad”), a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of next-generation targeted protein degradation therapies, has announced a major strategic collaboration and license agreement with Novartis worth up to $1.3 billion.

This significant milestone in the development of another of Epidarex’s portfolio companies highlights the success of Epidarex’s strategy of building exceptional life science companies in emerging hubs. Dunad’s early success demonstrates how Epidarex’s experienced team of early-stage investors partner with leading researchers to transform world-class science into innovations addressing major unmet needs in the global healthcare market.

Exemplifying its model of building new companies from fundamentally novel innovations across the life sciences, Epidarex launched Dunad in 2020 together with founders Prof. Patrick Gunning and Dr. Diana Kraskouskaya as a spin-out from the University of Toronto. Since its founding investment, Epidarex has worked closely with the scientific founders in setting up company operations and shaping early business and pipeline strategy. Epidarex also supported partnering strategy and discussions, the team build-out and positioning the company for further investment. The company now has operations in both the UK and North America.

Dunad’s unique platform uses mono-valent small molecules to induce selective degradation of disease-causing and often undruggable proteins via direct modification of the target. The Company’s novel molecular approach is fully tunable to be selective and underpinned by a target-class agnostic mechanism of action that is clearly differentiated from other targeted protein degradation technologies. Dunad’s platform has the potential to generate orally bioavailable degrader therapeutics that significantly expand the frontiers of protein degradation targets.

Dr. Liz Roper, Partner at Epidarex Capital and Board Member of Dunad commented: “We are delighted to see another early success in our portfolio at Epidarex. Dunad’s rapid growth will now continue via this significant collaboration with Novartis, a leading player in protein degradation. The agreement endorses Dunad’s highly innovative core technology and emphasises the importance of this new modality to generating new drugs for multiple diseases.”

Prof. Patrick Gunning, Dunad’s co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer commented: “As our founding investor Epidarex was instrumental in successfully launching Dunad and in supporting the company to reach this important partnership milestone. Together with Epidarex, Dunad has capitalised the build-out of an exciting new platform that will generate targeted protein degrader therapeutics with advantages over traditional drugs for many diseases. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Epidarex in growing our exciting company.” 

Under the terms of the agreement, Dunad will apply its tunable and highly selective platform to generate novel covalent and targeted protein degrading small molecule drugs. Novartis has an exclusive option to develop and commercialise products resulting from the research programmes directed against up to four drug targets. Upon exercise of this option Novartis will assume responsibility for future development, manufacturing and global commercialisation of the small molecule therapeutics products generated against these targets​.

Dunad will receive $24 million in an upfront payment and equity investment, as well as receiving significant research funding. Dunad will also be eligible for up to $1.3 billion in milestone payments, in addition to royalties.

About Dunad:

Dunad Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of next-generation targeted oral protein degradation therapies. Dunad’s platform enables selective degradation via direct target modification using tunable mono-valent small molecules, allowing for the development of more drug-like, orally bioavailable and CNS-accessible protein degraders. For more information, visit www.dunad.co.uk.

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