Proxygen develops therapies against cancer and other life-threatening diseases by reprogramming the cellular protein quality control system. It is focused on particular small molecules called "molecular glue degraders," which mediate recruitment of a disease-causing protein to a ubiquitin ligase. Consequently, the target protein is ubiquitinated and directed to the proteasome for degradation. Hence, instead of merely blocking the function of harmful proteins, molecular glue degraders enable their complete, targeted and selective elimination. This outlines a clear avenue towards targeting otherwise undruggable proteins and is therefore seen as one of the most promising innovations of the last decades.
Select investors Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck
Key people 🧑🤝🧑
- Eliminating "undruggable" proteins: The majority of drugs are designed to block one specific function of a disease-causing protein. But over 80% of human proteins are not accessible via this approach and are generally considered "undruggable" and are simply out of reach of classical pharmacology. In contrast, Proxygen specializes in a completely different class of drugs called molecular glue degraders. Instead of merely inhibiting a harmful protein's function, molecular glue degraders eliminate the protein completely. They do this by reprogramming the natural protein recycling machinery present in every cell.
- Discovery platform: The immense potential of molecular glue degraders is best exemplified by Revlimid and Pomalyst, which have revolutionized the treatment of multiple myeloma. However, their discovery was completely fortuitous. Replicating their success has been hindered by a lack of rational drug discovery strategies for molecular glue degraders. Now, for the first time, Proxygen's innovative discovery platform is powering the development of novel glue degraders at scale. 🔗
- A major deal with Merck: In June 2022, the company announced a strategic multi-year research collaboration and license agreement with Merck. As a result, Proxygen is eligible to receive up to €495 million 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. 🔗
Last update: June 4, 2023
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