Bayer and Arvinas said they have finalized terms for a joint venture that will apply Arvinas’ platform for engineering proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTAC®) protein degraders in order to develop sustainable products that control diseases, pests, and weeds by addressing resistance mechanisms in plants.

The companies yesterday announced a name for the joint venture, Oerth (pronounced “earth”) Bio, and named a CEO for the new company, John Dombrosky. He previously served as CEO of AgTech Accelerator, a Durham, NC, startup accelerator focused on discovering and developing emerging agricultural technology companies, in cooperation with a syndicate of investors.

Oerth Bio will be supported by intellectual property from both companies, as well as Arvinas’ technology and more than $55 million in committed funding from Bayer. The two companies will equally share governance and equity ownership of Oerth Bio, which will assemble its own team of scientists and run independently.

The joint venture was originally announced in June, at the same time both companies inked an up-to-$745 million partnership based on using PROTAC protein degraders to develop new treatments for cancer as well as cardiovascular and gynecological diseases.

Bayer has agreed to pay Arvinas more than $60 million consisting of an upfront payment, committed R&D funding, and a direct equity investment in Arvinas. Bayer also agreed to pay Arvina up to $685 million in payments tied to achieving research, development, and commercialization milestones, and commercial royalties ranging from the mid-single digits to the low double-digits.

In return, Bayer will own the rights to novel lead structures generated in the collaboration. The partnership is intended to create small-molecule therapeutics aimed at degrading disease-causing cellular proteins by combining Arvinas’ expertise in targeted protein degradation and Bayer’s decades of experience in developing both human therapies.

Arvinas was established in 2013 to commercialize research at Yale University by Craig Crews, PhD, the company’s founder and chief scientific advisor. According to Arvinas, PROTACs offer the potential to deliver safer, more potent treatment than small molecule inhibitors, and can thus address up to 80% of proteins that evade inhibition and are currently undruggable.

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