New Drug Modality Will Be Deployed Broadly Against Undruggable Targets – Initial Program Targets Multiple Forms of RAS
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Warp Drive Bio, a leading biotechnology company exploiting the molecules and mechanisms of nature to discover and develop transformative medicines, today announced that the company has identified a potentially transformational platform for addressing targets that were previously considered undruggable – Small Molecule-Assisted Receptor Targeting (SMART™).
"The potential to therapeutically target RAS represents a significant advance in the future of oncology drug development"
The initial focus of the company's platform is on RAS, a human oncogene with one of the highest mutation rates in cancer. A review of the Company's SMART platform and its application to RAS and other important disease targets was discussed in a plenary session on Saturday, November 7th, 2015 at the annual AACR-NCI-EORTC International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics in Boston.
"The potential to therapeutically target RAS represents a significant advance in the future of oncology drug development," said Barbara Weber, M.D., entrepreneur-in-residence at Third Rock Ventures. "By creating an entirely new modality for how we attack these types of targets, Warp Drive Bio is opening up many new avenues for therapeutics to treat cancer and other diseases."
Approximately 80 percent of human protein disease targets are viewed as undruggable by the principal pharmaceutical modalities available today – biologics and small molecules. Intracellular targets are inaccessible by biologics, and although small molecules are able to penetrate cells, they are limited to ~10 percent of proteins with specific surface characteristics, to which they are able to bind. This leaves all remaining targets un-actionable by current therapeutic options.
Warp Drive is advancing a new proprietary therapeutic modality – SMART – to address targets that have previously been undruggable. SMART combines many of the advantages of small molecules and biologics. With SMART, a small molecule engages an intracellular receptor creating a novel composite surface comprising the small molecule plus the receptor. The composite surface specifically binds to the disease target of interest, thereby antagonizing its activity and creating the desired pharmacologic effect.
The SMART technology will initially be deployed on RAS. RAS mutations are one of the major drivers of cancer being present in approximately 30 percent of all tumors. Although the oncogenic mechanism of RAS has been extensively studied, no existing therapeutics directly target RAS; it is an intracellular protein recalcitrant to small molecules and biologics. Moreover, RAS continues to mutate during disease progression, creating a further significant challenge. Warp Drive Bio's strategy is to develop multiple drugs that target RAS in various biochemical states and mutant forms, in order to achieve chronic control over resistance mechanisms.
"We have made important progress in being able to target RAS not just once, but multiple times and in various states and forms," said Greg Verdine, Ph.D., founder, president and chief scientific officer at Warp Drive Bio. "If we can achieve this with RAS, this will enable our programs against many key targets in oncology and other therapeutic areas – thus redefining the limits of druggability."
About Warp Drive Bio
Warp Drive Bio is exploiting the molecules and mechanisms of nature to create transformative medicines. The company operates on the core principle that nature is the world's most powerful inventor of new drugs, unconstrained by the mechanistic and synthetic limitations of traditional medicinal chemistry. Warp Drive Bio is deploying its proprietary Genomic Mining and SMART™ (Small Molecule Assisted Receptor Targeting) platforms, to discover novel medicines that have the potential to make a significant difference in patients' lives. The company was launched in 2012 through a strategic partnership with Sanofi and with financing from Third Rock Ventures and Greylock Partners. For more information, please visit www.warpdrivebio.com.
Dan Budwick, 973-271-6085