Viva Biotech’s Portfolio Company Dogma Therapeutics Reached the Acquisition Agreement with AstraZeneca on Dogma’s Oral PCSK9 Inhibitor Program

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS – Dogma Therapeutics (“Dogma”), a Viva Biotech Portfolio Company, has reached an agreement for the acquisition of its oral PCSK9 program by AstraZeneca. Dogma will receive upfront as well as downstream payments linked to global regulatory and commercial milestones.

The pursuit of a convenient, oral PCSK9-based therapy has been the singular focus of Dogma scientists for nearly a decade. Through Viva Biotech’s world-leading structure-based drug discovery platform, the Dogma team improved the Dogma inhibitors’ binding to PCSK9, ultimately achieving picomolar affinity. In preclinical models of hypercholesterolemia, multiple Dogma small molecule inhibitors were proved to significantly lower the LDL-C level when dosed orally. “Viva Biotech has begun to incubate and invest in Dogma Therapeutics since 2017. It was an exceptionally rewarding experience for our team to have a close partnership with Dogma during the exciting discovery phase,” said Dr. Zhixiong Ye, the Chief Scientific Officer at Viva Biotech. “An orally-bioavailable small molecule PCSK9 inhibitor will greatly impact the unmet medical needs of cardiovascular patients.”

Historically, several antibody-based inhibitors emerged following the rapid accreditation of the PCSK9 target through human genetics. However, despite large outcome trials showing a 15-20% reduction in cardiac events, the cost-effectiveness and wide use of antibody-based PCSK9 injectables have been questioned. Alternate approaches to PCSK9 inhibition have been stymied by the expansive binding surface targeted by the antibodies, and to date, only indirect approaches to PCSK9 inhibition by small molecules have been reported.

“We have built a robust data package that highlights the cholesterol-lowering and safety potential of our oral PCSK9 program,” noted Dogma CEO Brian Hubbard, Ph.D. “This agreement with AstraZeneca meets our strategic goal to accelerate access to patients unable to meet target LDL-C. I would like to especially thank our scientific partners – Charles River Laboratories, Viva Biotech, Anji Pharma, and our CRO partners - for their commitment to this project and their world-class problem solving.”

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca said: “Raised LDL cholesterol is a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease and is estimated to cause 2.6 million deaths worldwide every year. Whilst PCSK9 is a well validated target for lowering LDL cholesterol it has been a hugely challenging target to inhibit with small molecules. This agreement with Dogma Therapeutics offers us the opportunity to develop the first small molecule, orally bioavailable PCSK9 inhibitor, for patients at risk of cardiovascular disease.”

About Viva Biotech

Viva Biotech operates a leading structure-based, integrated drug discovery platform, providing drug discovery services to biotechnology and pharmaceutical customers worldwide. Viva Biotech actively combines conventional cash-for-service (CFS) and unique equity-for-service (EFS) approaches to realize a combination of short and long term innovation-driven returns. CFS covers the full spectrum of its customers’ needs for early-stage drug discovery, including target protein expression and structure research, hit screening, lead optimization, and drug candidate determination. As of June 30th, 2020, Viva Biotech has served 495 pharmaceutical customers worldwide, worked on over 1,300 independent drug targets, delivered approximately over 17,000 protein structures, and incubated/invested 56 early-stage biotech startups.

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About Dogma Therapeutics

Dogma Therapeutics has discovered bona fide small molecule inhibitors of PCSK9 function that are orally bioavailable across multiple preclinical species. Guided by dozens of high-resolution x-ray structures of our molecules bound to PCSK9, we have utilized structure-based design to achieve picomolar affinity.

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