In our latest company interview we continue our ongoing AACR series on various protein degraders and how they may be useful in hitting difficult targets where small molecule TKIs have struggled mightily for various reasons, which we discuss in detail.
The protein degraders are what we might call large small molecules – they have a large molecular weight in Dalton terms – yet despite their unwieldy size they do offer a number of distinct benefits, which could potentially lead to improved efficacy, reduced toxicity, and enhanced outcomes in the setting of both cancer and autoimmune disease. At least this is nice in theory, but what actually happens in practice?
Can we learn from the preclinical rationale and experiments to get a sense of what might happen in the clinic?
Find out more about what one emerging young biotech are accomplishing on the protein degradation front in both hematologic malignancies and solid tumours…
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Time for some reflection
Before we get to the World Congress in Lung Cancer (WCLC) taking place this weekend, I want to take a moment to reflect on some of the things we have learn over the last few weeks.
It’s time for a reader mailbag as we answer reader questions on the recent MYC mini-series, as well as covering bromodomain inhibitors (what’s going on there?) and discuss a new PROTAC compound in early development that looks quite interesting.
We also explain why that is the case…
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Cambridge – Amongst the historic colleges and cloistered walls of one of the world’s oldest universities there is pioneering research going on, and not only that, it’s potentially being translated into potential new cancer treatments.
Dr Laura Itzhaki (Twitter: @LauraItzhaki) is professor of structural pharmacology at the University of Cambridge. She is also founder and chief scientific officer of a start-up biotech company, which is focused on the discovery and development of a new class of drugs called polyproxin molecules.
University of Cambridge
Prof Itzhaki’s research is the basis of the science and intellectual property behind PolyProx Therapeutics, and the company earlier this year received £3.4 million in seed financing. This may not be a huge deal in US terms, where we’ve seen some truly mind blowing Series A financing rounds for start-up cell therapy companies, but it’s not inconsequential in UK terms. We’ve also seen with today’s £100M Series B funding announcement for Stevenage based Achilles Therapeutics (whom we profiled a year ago) that early stage UK companies can indeed go on to big things.
Basic science is the backbone of cancer research – let’s not forget that translating the new discoveries into the clinic is how new products are developed and it’s exciting to see an increasing number academics take the next step on that journey.
During a visit to Cambridge this year, Prof Itzhaki kindly spoke with BSB about her research and the direction PolyProx hopes to travel. It’s very early stages for the company, yet it’s a story we very much look forward to following, and one I expect we will hear more from, as other companies look to partner with them in the future….
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