Vertex Pharmaceuticals has agreed to partner with Skyhawk Therapeutics to develop a certain type of drug to combat what Vertex referred to as “serious diseases.” Vertex Pharmaceuticals is a Boston-based biopharmaceutical company that invests heavily into scientific research to create innovative medications for serious diseases. One of their greatest accomplishments is generating FDA approved medicines that treat cystic fibrosis.
Vertex has a vast portfolio of “investigational small molecule medicines” that offer deep insights into the human biology that causes illness. Additionally, Vertex has a growing body of genetic and call therapies for a variety of serious diseases like sickle cell anemia, muscular dystrophy, and diabetes.
Since Vertex Pharmaceuticals is new to the genetics industry, they have announced that they are partnering with Skyhawk Therapeutics, which will gain the company access to Skyhawk’s SkySTAR platform, which stands for Skyhawk Small molecule Therapeutics for Alternative splicing RNA.
Skyhawk specializes in the use of small molecule treatments that aim to correct RNA-based illnesses. Ribonucleic acid, or RNA, is a messenger cell that carries instructions for DNA cells that control the construction of proteins in the body. Using RNA treatment can combat genetic diseases or diseases that are caused on the DNA-level.
As part of the agreement, Vertex will pay $40 million to Skyhawk in exchange for the development of RNA-modifying small molecule medication. Additionally, Vertex has the option to hold the rights of the medications developed by Skyhawk during the deal, allowing the greater biotech industry to take on development and commercialization. This partnership is one in a long list of unorthodox Vertex partnerships.
Vertex isn’t the only pharmaceutical company that has partnered with Skyhawk. The company has made similar deals with other pharmaceutical giants, such as Celgene, Merck, and AstraZeneca. Although their work is still in the early stages of development, they have proven to be a promising company based on the number of partnerships they have engaged.
Since Vertex saw its Hepatitis C medication franchise toppled by competition in the pharmaceutical industry, the company is now looking for ways to diversify its product portfolio and move in a new direction. Vertex is now appearing to gravitate towards the burgeoning gene therapy industry to decrease its reliance on industries that are crowded with competitors.