Kymera nets $65M to move lead protein degrader into the clinic

Kymera Therapeutics raised $65 million in series B funding that will support the clinical development of its lead protein degradation program, as well as advance its other preclinical assets. CEO Laurent Audoly kept mum on specific targets and indications, saying that “at this point, what we are comfortable saying is we’re focused on oncology.” 

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech is one of a handful of startups aiming to use the body’s innate protein degradation system—the ubiquitin-proteasome system—against disease-causing proteins. It’s using a “disease-agnostic” platform it calls Pegasus to pursue treatments for cancer and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. 

Since it got off its series A just over a year ago, the company has doubled its team, recruiting in September its chief medical officer, Jared Gollob, who previously headed up clinical development and medical affairs at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. It has kept busy building its technology and answering some of the key questions in the protein degradation space. 

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“This year has been marked by the maturation of our pipeline with applications across diverse target types and disease indications as well as a deeper understanding of the pharmaceutical properties required to develop protein degrading drugs,” said Kymera Chief Technology Officer Nello Mainolfi, Ph.D., in a statement. “These insights have allowed us to refine our drug discovery platform and improve our ability to identify first-in-class drug candidates.” 

RELATED: Kymera pens new pact with GSK as protein degradation R&D continues to ramp up 

Kymera drew its series B from 6 Dimensions Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Pfizer Ventures, MRL Ventures Fund, Sanofi Ventures, Hatteras Venture Partners, and Aju IB Investment, as well as from its series A backers: Atlas Venture, Lilly Ventures and Amgen Ventures. 

“The strength of the syndicate is a reflection of the fact that the market—and in particular, these investors—clearly recognize the space that we’re in," Kymera's CEO Laurent Audoly said. 

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Audoly didn’t say much beyond identifying oncology as Kymera’s initial focus, adding that the company has “a very clear line of sight to a number of clinical indications with our lead asset and, of course, our pipeline is more than just one asset.” 

“At the end of the day, the technology is so powerful it really is disease- and protein-agnostic,” he said. “We are focused on high unmet need immediately, but over the long run, there’s very little we can’t think about in terms of disease applications.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the amount Kymera raised in its series B. It raised $65 million, not $60 million.