Targeted protein degradation (TPD), as a mechanism to target previously untreatable conditions, was one of the key highlights of the year 2019. In an article published late last year, we discussed, in detail, the epic rise in the popularity of TPD.
What is targeted protein degradation?
Targeted protein degradation is an emerging modality that allows access to difficult-to-treat diseases. While conventional medicines such as small molecule inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies address fewer than 20% of the proteome, targeted degradation offers a unique means to tap into the rest of the vast, unexplored proteome. Through this, a disease can be addressed by controlling the amount of a harmful protein rather than trying to modulate or inhibit its function. The control of protein levels is accomplished with a small molecule drug called a protein degrader.
Who are the key developers in targeted protein degradation?
Kymera Therapeutics has been one of the pioneers in the field of TPD. It has been using its proprietary Pegasus technology, what it calls a game-changing integrated degradation platform, to attack inflammation-related diseases. In fact, as per the company’s website, it has around 7 programs in its pipeline for the treatment of inflammatory/immunology/oncology disorders. Here is an overview of the company’s pipeline.
Today, the company announced a series C investment of USD 102 million. This round was led by Biotechnology Value Fund (BVF) and Redmile Group. In addition, other participants including Wellington Management Company, Bain Capital Life Sciences, funds managed by Janus Henderson Investors and BlackRock, Rock Springs Capital and a large US-based, healthcare-focused fund, also joined the funding round. Morever, the existing investors also participated in the round.
Importantly, the company also received a strategic investment from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society‘s Therapy Acceleration Program® (LLS TAP) directed toward advancing the company’s work to treat blood-based cancers.
Here is a video by the company’s Founder, President & CEO highlighting the key elements of Kymera’s platform.
How much funding has this space attracted to date?
As per a market research report released by Roots Analysis, more than USD 3.5 billion has been invested in targeted protein degradation. Recently, we have witnessed investments across other players, as well.