Ag Tech News
Bayer and Arvinas Unveil Targeted Protein Degradation Joint Venture, Oerth Bio
Monheim, Boston, New Haven, October 2019 – Bayer and Arvinas, Inc., a biotechnology company pioneering the development of a new class of drugs based on targeted protein degradation, announced they have finalized the terms of their agreement to jointly launch a new company, Oerth Bio (pronounced “Earth”), and named John Dombrosky as its chief executive officer. Oerth leverages Arvinas’ expertise in targeted protein degradation, a field the company has led since its founding in 2013, and Bayer’s decades of experience in developing both human therapies and innovative, sustainable agricultural technologies. John Dombrosky and others from the Oerth Bio team will be presenting an overview of the company at Bayer’s Future of Farming Dialogue meeting being held today in Monheim.
“We are incredibly excited to be a part of this first exploration of PROTAC® technology in agriculture,” said Bob Reiter, head of R&D, Crop Science division of Bayer. “This alliance is a unique combination of expertise to truly shape the future of agriculture. The work that will be done by Oerth Bio could help farmers overcome the diseases, pests and weeds that lead to lost crop yields every year.”
Oerth Bio will be supported by intellectual property and over USD 55 million in committed funding from Bayer and technology and intellectual property from Arvinas. Bayer and Arvinas will equally share governance and equity ownership of the joint venture. Oerth Bio will build a team of leading scientists, enabling the company to run as an independent and sustainable organization.
“At Arvinas, we believe Oerth Bio has the potential to extend the power of our PROTAC® technology into ag science, where we hope it will significantly impact the resilience and durability of our food supply”, said John Houston, president and chief executive officer at Arvinas. “With extensive expertise in crop science, funding, and company building, John is an ideal fit to lead Oerth Bio and will certainly serve the company well in its mission and build upon the promise of PROTAC® protein degraders.”
“I’m excited to become part of the team at Oerth Bio, which is being built to leverage the natural attributes of PROTAC® protein degraders, the immense chemistry know-how at Arvinas, and Bayer’s deep expertise in crop sciences”, said Dombrosky, “I look forward to leveraging these advantages to create innovative and sustainable agricultural products.”
Prior to joining Oerth Bio, Dombrosky was the CEO of AgTech Accelerator which sourced, formed, and actively managed emerging big-vision agtech startups with a leading syndicate of investors. Prior to AgTech Accelerator, John served in multiple executive roles at Syngenta, Thomson Reuters, and Northwest Airlines. Dombrosky earned a Bachelor of Arts in Financial Management from the University of St. Thomas and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.
In launching Oerth Bio, Bayer and Arvinas committed to leveraging the selectivity and target-degrading capability of PROTAC® protein degraders to meet one of the greatest challenges facing the world: feeding the growing global population. PROTAC® targeted protein degraders, which Arvinas is developing for human health applications, also have the potential to develop solutions to help control weeds, insects, and disease and can address resistance mechanisms plants have developed against existing agricultural solutions.