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Ranok Therapeutics Raises $40M to Knockout the Protein Degrader Technologies

Another biotech company has joined the ranks of protein degrader startups. Ranok Therapeutics, a Sino-American biotech, has announced a $40 million series B financing to fund work on a cancer programme, only weeks after Pfizer announced a landmark deal with Arvinas. Protein degradation has swiftly become a go-to method for scientists looking to reach previously unreachable targets.

Rather of inhibiting a protein by blocking its active site, this family of drugs hijacks the machinery that cells utilise to break down proteins. In 2019, Arvinas started the first clinical trial of a targeted protein degrader, which led to a $1 billion deal with Pfizer, although it is far from the only company in the sector.

Ranok became the latest in a long line of protein degrader biotechs to raise double-digit funding on Wednesday. Ranok Therapeutics joins the likes of C4, Kymera, and Nurix in Arvinas’ slipstream with the $40 million round. The money will be used to progress a cancer programme that is currently undisclosed, according to Ranok, which initially broke cover with a seed funding statement last year. The program’s details will be released later this year, but Ranok has already provided some insights about its technology’s application in cancer, demonstrating its method at the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting earlier this year.

The use of chaperone-mediated protein degraders (CHAMPs) against BRD4, a transcription factor linked to cancer development, is described in the poster. According to Ranok, its method outperforms the more widely used PROTAC (proteolysis targeting chimaera) approach to protein degradation because tumor-specific accumulation leads in a higher safety margin. Ranok now has the resources to continue testing its strategy. Ranok Therapeutics wants to progress its lead cancer study while expanding its preclinical pipeline, led by former Synta Pharmaceuticals and Forma Therapeutics researchers.

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