REDWOOD CITY, Calif. & CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Revolution Medicines and Warp Drive Bio disclosed today that Revolution Medicines is acquiring Warp Drive Bio. The acquisition will combine the companies’ complementary drug discovery technologies and precision oncology programs directed toward frontier oncology targets – elusive drivers of notorious cancer-promoting pathways. The deal, expected to close by the end of this month subject to customary closing conditions, involves issuance of Revolution Medicines stock to stockholders of Warp Drive Bio.
“The merged R&D portfolio represents a rich pipeline of near- and long-term development opportunities for our R&D team to advance in support of our continuing commitment to translate frontier oncology targets on behalf of cancer patients,” said Mark A. Goldsmith, MD, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Revolution Medicines. “We appreciate the groundbreaking research by Warp Drive Bio scientists that inspired this deal. The synergistic combination of capabilities and assets will deepen our ability to target cancer drivers precisely and comprehensively and will accelerate our trajectory as a leading oncology company.”
This strategic transaction brings together two biotechnology companies that are both grounded in the molecules and mechanisms of nature to discover first– and/or best–in–class drugs. Revolution Medicines’ lead program is directed to the enzyme SHP2, a key regulator of growth signaling by select oncogenic mutant proteins in the RAS growth signaling pathway. The company’s selective SHP2 inhibitor RMC-4630 is currently in a Phase 1 clinical trial and is the centerpiece of a global collaboration with Sanofi on SHP2. Additional programs in the preclinical pipeline target other key cancer-promoting pathways.
Warp Drive Bio developed a highly innovative drug modality (SMART) based on the molecular design and optimization of compounds to engage surfaces on disease-causing proteins that were previously viewed as undruggable. Inhibitors created using this technology reportedly exploit unique molecular contacts that have not been possible with traditional small molecules, which enables highly differentiated modes of action. For example, unlike other compounds that have been described, inhibitors of KRAS-G12C derived by this approach uniquely antagonize the activated (GTP-bound) form of this prominent driver of cancer. This platform is highly compatible with the strengths of Revolution Medicines in exploiting natural product macrocycles as chemical leads, and the KRAS–targeted programs are complementary to its existing precision oncology pipeline.
“I’m proud of the outstanding work by our team that has delivered promising platform advances and product opportunities,” noted Laurence Reid, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Warp Drive Bio. “Our board of directors is confident that integrating the two companies’ portfolios is the right path to create a strong, diversified and synergistic oncology product pipeline. Revolution Medicines is an excellent organization for maximizing impact for cancer patients from the merged portfolio and creating value for investors.”
Revolution Medicines will maintain a research site in Cambridge during a transition period. Warp Drive Bio’s discovery collaborations with GlaxoSmithKline (oncology) and Roche (antibiotics) will continue while Revolution Medicines determines its business strategy for the genome mining platform.
Revolution Medicines also recently mentioned on October 9th the dosing of the first patient in a Phase 1, open-label, monotherapy dose-escalation and expansion study of RMC-4630, the company’s lead investigational drug candidate targeting the enzyme SHP2. Revolution Medicines holds the IND for RMC-4630, and this trial is being conducted under the recently announced global partnership on SHP2 between Revolution Medicines and Sanofi.
The purpose of this study is to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and clinical activity of RMC-4630 in people with relapsed, refractory solid tumors including non-small cell lung cancer and other tumor types carrying certain mutations that cause hyperactivation of the RAS-MAP kinase cell growth signaling cascade. The study will comprise two parallel components: (1) a dose escalation study for patients with solid tumors, and (2) an expansion study for patients with tumors harboring specific mutations.
“Revolution Medicines is proud to advance RMC-4630 into clinical development on behalf of patients with advanced cancers who have limited treatment options,” mentioned Stephen Kelsey, MD, FRCP, FRCPath, president of R&D of Revolution Medicines. “Our discovery of optimal inhibitors of SHP2 and elucidation of the critical role of SHP2 in the growth of certain cancers has, for the first time, suggested the potential to render these drivers of cancer clinically actionable. We are eager to advance this program by working with patients, experienced clinical investigators and our development partners at Sanofi.”