Sanofi- and Gilead Sciences-backed Nurix Therapeutics is following suit with rival biotech Kymera in raising a major cash haul for its protein modulation R&D work.
Nurix has grabbed $120 million to push on with its drug discovery platform that focuses on manipulating the ubiquitin system, which breaks down damaged or unneeded proteins. These proteins are tagged with ubiquitin—also a protein—and then sent to a protein complex called a proteasome, where it is degraded.
This comes in the same week that a rival biotech, Kymera, is going after a similar approach: Its focus makes use of the body’s protein degradation machinery to get rid of disease-causing proteins. It got off a $102 million funding round this week, a little less than Nurix, with its new capital allowing it to put three programs into human trials over the next 12 to 16 months.
Nurix’ funding was led by Foresite Capital with participation from Bain Capital Life Sciences, Boxer Capital (Tavistock Group), EcoR1 Capital, Redmile Group, Wellington Management Company and an undisclosed investor, as well as Nurix’s founding investors The Column Group and Third Rock Ventures.
“With the funds raised in this financing, Nurix is well positioned to bring its targeted protein modulation therapeutics into the clinic,” said Arthur Sands, M.D., Ph.D., CEO of Nurix. “We will also continue to use our powerful DELigase platform to discover new therapies aimed at previously undruggable targets of high therapeutic potential.”
The cash will help push its early work into the clinic, including its orally delivered BTK chimeric targeting molecule (CTM) for B-cell malignancies. An IND with the FDA is expected by year-end.
The second molecule in Nurix’s preclinical pipeline is an orally delivered inhibitor of the CBL-B ligase for stimulation of T-cell activation and IL-2 secretion as a "novel immuno-oncology agent," it said in a statement, though it did not specify the target.
“Nurix's CTM and DELigase platform technologies have led to the discovery of novel BTK degraders with the potential to transform the treatment landscape for hematological indications,” said Michael Rome, Ph.D., partner at Foresite Capital. “Their differentiated platform and novel approach have resulted in strategic corporate partnerships and we believe position the company as a leader in the emerging protein modulation field.”