VIENNA, AUSTRIA, June 2, 2022 — Proxygen, a leader in the discovery and development of molecular glue degraders, announced today that the company has entered into a strategic multi-year research collaboration and license agreement with Merck. Proxygen is eligible to receive up to €495 million ($554 million at the average USD/EUR FX rate of Q1 2022) in continuous R&D funding, upfront and success-based pre-clinical, clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones, as well as additional royalty payments. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will jointly identify and develop molecular glue degraders up to a clinical candidate stage.

“We are incredibly excited to start this long-term collaboration with Merck, a globally recognized player in the pharmaceutical industry that shares our drive towards dynamic innovation for the benefit of patients. The partnership validates the unique potential of Proxygen’s glue degrader platform and strategically leverages our common strengths in the targeted protein degradation field”, says Dr. Bernd Boidol, CEO of Proxygen.

Molecular glue degraders re-direct the cell’s own quality control machinery towards disease-causing proteins, inducing their selective and complete elimination. Because of their capability to modulate protein classes that would not be amenable to traditional drug discovery approaches, glue degraders hold the promise of unlocking a large proportion of the undruggable target space and delivering innovative therapies for diseases with high medical need. The lack of scalable discovery strategies has however so far hindered the full exploitation of the clinical potential of molecular glue degraders.

By streamlining and fully integrating cutting-edge genomic, proteomic, and biochemical technologies, Proxygen has successfully developed a highly versatile glue degrader discovery engine. The ligase-agnostic screening approach enables the specific and unbiased identification of molecular glue degraders against difficult-to-drug or completely undruggable targets at large scale. The vast amounts of know-how and data generated in the discovery and chemical optimization of degrader molecules continuously improve the understanding of this novel modality and contribute to Proxygen’s pioneering role in the molecular glue degrader space.


About Proxygen
Founded in 2020, Proxygen is focused on the discovery and development of molecular glue degraders against targets of unmet medical need across various indications. While advancing its internal programs towards clinical development, the company also maintains strategic partnerships to co-create synergies along the drug development pipeline. With its headquarters and laboratory operations in Vienna, Austria, Proxygen employs talent both locally and remotely all over Europe. For more information, please visit


Bernd Boidol
Chief Executive Officer


  • Proxygen’s unique molecular glue degrader discovery platform complements Boehringer Ingelheim’s focus on proteolysis targeting chimeras (PROTACs) in the aim of degrading cancer drivers that were previously considered undruggable.
  • New collaboration strengthens Boehringer Ingelheim’s cancer research strategy to develop novel treatment options for patients with lung or gastrointestinal cancers.

INGELHEIM, GERMANY and VIENNA, AUSTRIA, December 7, 2020 — Boehringer Ingelheim and Proxygen today announced they have entered into a collaboration and license agreement to enable the identification of molecular glue degraders against various oncogenic targets. The collaboration combines Proxygen’s unique molecular glue degrader discovery platform and its expertise in targeted protein degradation with Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term strategy to provide first-in-class, breakthrough therapies for cancer patients.

Molecular glue degraders and PROTACs harness the power of the cell’s recycling machinery to selectively eliminate disease-causing proteins. Molecular glue degraders achieve this by specifically bridging the distance between target proteins and ubiquitin ligases, which consequently flag the target proteins for rapid degradation. Molecular glues orchestrate this protein-protein proximity through highly cooperative binding. They circumvent the need for a defined binding pocket on the surface of the target protein, a requirement for conventional small molecule drugs, allowing pharmaceutical intervention on proteins that were previously considered undruggable.

“Proxygen’s molecular glue degrader platform has the potential to become a valuable component of Boehringer Ingelheim’s cancer research strategy to treat tumors driven by the most frequently mutated cancer-causing proteins that were previously considered undruggable and to further expand our efforts in the area of targeted protein degradation,” says Norbert Kraut, Global Head of Cancer Research at Boehringer Ingelheim. “We are very pleased to partner with Proxygen, complementing our efforts in taking difficult-to-treat cancers on.”

The identification of molecular glue degraders has been serendipitous up to this point. Proxygen’s highly scalable and broadly applicable molecular glue discovery platform promises a goal-oriented and comprehensive avenue towards an improved identification of molecular glue degrader candidates.

“We are very excited to join forces with Boehringer Ingelheim,” says Bernhard Boidol, Chief Executive Officer of Proxygen. “Working together with a leader in innovative oncological research and development not only validates the broad applicability of our molecular glue degrader platform but also allows us to rapidly develop new therapies for the high unmet medical need of many patients with lung and colorectal cancers.”

Proxygen’s new method has recently been recognized by Boehringer Ingelheim through its Grass Roots ‘Innovation Prize’ in Vienna, Austria. The ‘Innovation Prize’ recognizes the innovation power of young life-science companies and bio-entrepreneurs to create and sustain pipelines for the next generation of medicines. Launched in 2015, the Grass Roots programs comprise of ‘Office Hours,’ ‘Academy’ and the ‘Innovation Prize.’ As a company dedicated to improving health and quality of life, these programs give Boehringer Ingelheim the opportunity to lend expertise to the early-stage innovation community and offer guidance around the science to help enable ideas to deliver the next breakthroughs.

Proxygen is entitled to receive up-front payments, research and development support and milestone gated development payments, as well as tiered royalties based on future commercial sales of developed products.


Boehringer Ingelheim

Making new and better medicines for humans and animals is at the heart of what we do. Our mission is to create breakthrough therapies that change lives. Since its founding in 1885, Boehringer Ingelheim is independent and family-owned. We have the freedom to pursue our long-term vision, looking ahead to identify the health challenges of the future and targeting those areas of need where we can do the most good.

As a world-leading, research-driven pharmaceutical company, more than 51,000 employees create value through innovation daily for our three business areas: Human Pharma, Animal Health, and Biopharmaceutical Contract Manufacturing. In 2019, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of 19 billion euros. Our significant investment of almost 3.5 billion euros in R&D drives innovation, enabling the next generation of medicines that save lives and improve quality of life.

We realize more scientific opportunities by embracing the power of partnership and diversity of experts across the life-science community. By working together, we accelerate the delivery of the next medical breakthrough that will transform the lives of patients now, and in generations to come.

More information about Boehringer Ingelheim can be found at or in our annual report:


Boehringer Ingelheim in Oncology

Cancer takes. Takes away time. Takes away loved ones. At Boehringer Ingelheim Oncology, we are giving patients new hope, by taking cancer on.  We are dedicated to collaborating with the oncology community on a shared journey to deliver leading science. Our primary focus is in lung and gastrointestinal cancers, with the goal of delivering breakthrough, first-in-class treatments that can help win the fight against cancer. Our commitment to innovation has resulted in pioneering treatments for lung cancer and we are advancing a unique pipeline of cancer cell directed agents, immuno-oncology therapies and intelligent combination approaches to help combat many cancers.


About Proxygen

Proxygen develops therapies against cancer and other life-threatening diseases by reprogramming the cellular protein quality control system through particular drugs called “molecular glue degraders”. Instead of only blocking the activity of harmful proteins, these molecules enable their complete, targeted, and selective elimination. This outlines a clear avenue towards targeting proteins that are known to be major drivers of disease but have so far not been tractable via the traditional drug discovery paradigm. Because of this, molecular glue degraders are considered one of the most promising therapeutic innovations of the last decades. Based in Vienna and founded as a spin-out from CeMM, the Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Proxygen harnesses its proprietary discovery engine to systematically screen for novel molecular glue degraders with the ultimate goal to bring these molecules to the clinic.

More information about Proxygen can be found at


Contacts at Proxygen:
Bernhard Boidol, PhD 

Chief Executive Officer
Proxygen GmbH
T: +43 (0) 1 226 1030


Contacts at Boehringer Ingelheim:
Dr. Reinhard Malin

Head of Communications Innovation Unit
Boehringer Ingelheim Corporate Center GmbH
Media + PR
P: +49 6132 77-90815

Sarah Soetbeer 
Junior Product Communications Manager
Boehringer Ingelheim Corporate Center GmbH
Media + PR
P: +49 6132 77-183874

Linda Ruckel 
Senior Associate Director, Media and Corporate Reputation
Boehringer Ingelheim U.S.
Media + PR
Tel.: +1 203-791-6672


  • Viennese biotech start-up is first European prize winner.
  • New approach aims at targeting disease-causing proteins using small molecules.
  • Boehringer Ingelheim provides financing for office and laboratory space for 12 months and offers access to the company’s expertise.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA, July 31, 2020— The young biotech company Proxygen yesterday received the BI Innovation Prize for 12 months of free office and lab space in the new Start-Up Labs incubator at the Vienna BioCenter, as well as access to Boehringer Ingelheim’s expertise. Proxygen develops therapies against cancer and other life-threatening diseases by reprogramming endogenous protein quality control. Collaborations with start-ups from the life science community are an important element in the pharmaceutical company’s research strategy.

The BI Innovation Prize, launched in Boston in 2015, was awarded this year for the first time outside the U.S. and Japan. “We are very pleased to now bring the successful BI Innovation Prize to Europe to honor and support the innovative power of young life science companies,” said Ioannis Sapountzis, Global Head, Business Development and Licensing at Boehringer Ingelheim. “With the idea of combining cellular and genetic screens with their approach to target disease-causing proteins using small molecules, Proxygen’s application immediately stood out. This concept opens up a new path towards urgently needed medicines,” said Guido Boehmelt, Head of Research Beyond Borders at Boehringer Ingelheim Vienna, explaining the jury’s decision in favor of the biotech company Proxygen.


Treating the untreatable

Proxygen has developed a novel molecular principle that allows efficient removal of proteins previously considered untreatable. This is achieved by a special type of small molecule that can reprogram the natural degradation machinery of cells to specifically degrade those proteins that are, for example, the main cause of diseases such as cancer. Proxygen is thus breaking new ground in this field of science. “It is a great honor to be able to move into the new start-up labs at the Vienna Biocenter campus with the BI Innovation Prize in our pocket,” said Matthias Brand, Head of Research at Proxygen. “We are very excited about this and look forward to future exchanges with Boehringer Ingelheim’s researchers.”


Working together for research breakthroughs

For Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the leading research-based pharmaceutical companies, collaborations with the life science community are an important pillar of its research strategy. “Collaborations with young life science companies provide essential impetus for expanding our pipeline of first-in-class next-generation drugs,” explains Ioannis Sapountzis. “On the one hand, our Innovation Prize recognizes the commitment and risk-taking it takes to start a new company, and on the other hand, it gives us the opportunity to help biotech entrepreneurs with our expertise to develop much-needed medical breakthroughs for patients,” says Sapountzis on the importance of the BI Innovation Prize. The Start-Up Labs at the Vienna Biocenter campus provide an ideal environment and network to help founders advance their breakthrough ideas.

The prize provides a platform to showcase ideas and projects of innovative life science companies from the new Start-Up Labs at the Vienna BioCenter campus. In addition to access to Boehringer Ingelheim’s leading researchers, the pharmaceutical company will cover office and lab rental costs for 12 months. The BI Innovation Prize is part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s Grass Roots program, under which Boehringer Ingelheim has already provided mentoring and direct access to relevant expertise and industry perspectives from researchers and leaders within the company to more than 240 young life science companies.