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Arvinas Drug company going public

August 31, 2018

Arvinas filed Thursday to raise as much as $100 million in an initial public offering of stock, with the New Haven company developing novel treatments for cancer and other conditions.

Only in April, Arvinas had secured $55 million in fresh funding through a private issuance of equity shares, with the company employing 70 people and listing 10 open jobs.

The company has collaborations with Pfizer, Genentech and Hoffman-La Roche that have generated proceeds to date of $73.5 million, with the possibility for as much as $1.4 billion through future royalties and other milestone payments. As of June 30, Arvinas reported an accumulated deficit of $160 million, including $12 million in the first six month of this year.

Using protein degraders, Arvinas’ platform induces a cell’s own ubiquitin-proteasome pathway to eliminate disease-causing proteins. Initial breakthroughs in UPP research were recognized in the 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, which went to a trio of researchers at the India Institute of Technology and the University of California Davis.

As described that year by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Nobel Prize winners came to realize that the cell functions as a checking station where proteins are built up and broken down at a furious rate, but with a degree of control so that at any given moment a protein can be given a molecular label that amounts to “a kiss of death,” in the academy’s words, with a molecule called a ubiquitin attaching itself to the protein in question and feeding it into a cell’s “waste disposers” where it is destroyed.

In a Thursday filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, Arvinas indicated its approach has successfully degraded 90 percent of proteins it has addressed to date in early lab tests. Any treatment would require approval from the Food and Drug Administration, with Arvinas aiming for initial clinical trials in the first half of 2019.

Arvinas represents a homegrown Connecticut startup success, with the company created with technology developed at Yale and its backers including the Westport office of venture capital firm Canaan Partners, as well as the Connecticut Venture state VC fund.

Founded by Yale research Craig Crews, Arvinas is led by John Houston, who previously led specialty discovery for Bristol Myers Squibb. The company’s board is chaired by Tim Shannon of Canaan Partners, who earlier in his career was CEO of CuraGen, a Branford company that developed oncology treatments that was sold to a predecessor company of Celldex Therapeutics.

Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-842-2545; @casoulman

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