Pharma Focus Asia

Skyhawk and Vertex Establish a Strategic Collaboration to Discover and Develop Novel Small Molecules that Modulate RNA Splicing for Serious Diseases

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Skyhawk Therapeutics, Inc. and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated announced a strategic research collaboration and licensing agreement aimed at the discovery and development of novel small molecules that modulate RNA splicing for the treatment of serious diseases.

“We believe that splice site modulation holds significant promise for the treatment of diseases which today have limited or no therapeutic options,” said Mark Bunnage, D.Phil., Senior Vice President and Site Head, Boston Research at Vertex. “This collaboration brings Skyhawk’s innovative technology together with Vertex’s research and development experience; and fits perfectly with our strategy of investing in new technologies that will help us transform multiple serious diseases.”

“We are excited to enter this collaboration with Vertex, a global leader in creating transformative medicines through serial innovation,” said Bill Haney, Chief Executive Officer of Skyhawk. “In collaboration with the Vertex team, we look forward to using our SkySTAR™ platform to discover and develop novel small molecule therapeutics that modulate RNA splicing which have the potential to transform the lives of patients with serious diseases.”

Under the collaboration agreement, Vertex will pay Skyhawk $40 million upfront. Skyhawk will grant Vertex options to exclusively license worldwide intellectual property rights to candidates discovered and developed under the collaboration that are directed to program targets. Following Vertex’s exercise of its options, Vertex will be responsible for further development and commercialization. Skyhawk is also eligible to receive up to $2.2 billion in potential milestone payments, as well as potential royalties on future sales.

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