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.
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.