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

GlaxoSmithKline lab
(Image: GSK)

Six months after getting off its series A, Kymera Therapeutics has nabbed a deal with GlaxoSmithKline to collaborate on its platform, although exact details on money and targets remains under wraps.  

Still, it’s a pretty big deal for Kymera, even though financial terms weren’t disclosed, as it raised only $30 million in the series A last fall with the help of Atlas, Amgen, Lilly, and a new CEO in the form of Pierre Fabre’s former R&D head Laurent Audoly, Ph.D.

The biotech works on using the body’s innate protein degradation and recycling machinery, the ubiquitin-proteasome system, to knock down disease-causing proteins, regardless of their function.

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This follows along the lines of several other early-stage biotechs, including Fierce 15 winners C4 Therapeutics and Arvinas, the latter of which just today got off a $55 million series C, alongside some big deals from Pfizer and Roche over the last year, as this form of research heats up.

RELATED: Arvinas gains $55M C round as it eyes cancer trials, pipeline work

Kymera, too, is following a similar trajectory with its Big Pharma pact with GSK, which is set up as a two-year discovery collab focused on small molecule-based targeted protein degradation and encoded library technologies.

“Targeted protein degradation is a ground-breaking new therapeutic modality that has the potential to provide important treatment options for patients,” said Audoly. “Kymera is leveraging its proprietary Pegasus drug discovery platform in collaboration with GSK to advance targeted protein degradation-based drug discovery.”

Under the deal, GSK and Kymera will work together on a “limited number of protein degradation targets of mutual interest to discover novel drug candidates,” the companies said in a joint statement, adding that they will also work to discover new E3 ligases, the enzymes that bind and target disease-causing proteins marking them for degradation.

“The agreement supports ongoing collaboration between company scientists, with each company also having a right to use certain insights gained in the collaboration for its own programs,” the pair noted.

Kymera is set up as a semivirtual company that teams up with a network of partners. Last October it had 12 full-time employees and collaborators around the world, with that set to roughly double by the end of this year.

Internally, it expects to nominate a lead candidate by the end of 2018 and that candidate “may have application across multiple disease states,” the company told me last year, with this slated to enter the clinic by the start of the next decade. Other companies are focused on cancer targets, as well as CNS disorders and so-called undruggable targets.

Kymera say they are different from their competitors. “Powered by a proprietary predictive modeling capability and a truly novel integrated degradation platform, Kymera is accelerating drug discovery and development with an unmatched ability to identify, target and degrade the most intractable of proteins.

“Kymera’s differentiated platform consists of informatics/disease centric target identification, a novel E3 ligase toolbox, proprietary ternary complex predictive modeling capabilities and degradation tools that allows us to efficiently identify and render tractable disease-causing proteins underserved by current therapeutic modalities and to design novel protein degraders with the greatest potential to impact disease.”

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