Developing open access protein degradation tools for drug discovery

Challenge: PROTACs (PROteolysis TArgeting Chimeras) are bifunctional drugs that recruit a ubiquitin E3 ligase to a targeted protein, thereby catalyzing poly-ubiquitylation of the target and its subsequent degradation by the proteasome. PROTAC induced protein degradation offers advantages over classical enzyme inhibition: it acts via a catalytic instead of occupancy-based mechanism and shows superior efficacy with fewer off-target side effects and … Read More


RecyTag technology for extended half-lives of small biologics

  Competition: Programme EXPLORE 2013 Funding: $499,000 / 2 years Platform technology aimed at increasing the half–life of small biologics by conjugating FcRn-binding molecules. Protein-based therapeutics, also called biologics, have recently made significant inroads into the pharmaceutical market, and are being used to treat chronic diseases and cancer. In addition to acting potently and specifically on their molecular targets, efficacious … Read More


Encycle Therapeutics : To determine the rules for making peptide drugs orally bioavailable

  Competition: Quantum Leap 2014 Funding: $838,000 / 1 year Beginning: December 2014 Encycle Therapeutics, a biotechnology company founded by Dr. Andrei Yudin of the University of Toronto is a Canadian start-up emerging as a market leader in finding molecules that can reach therapeutic targets located within cells. Today, the company works to better understand the chemical properties required by … Read More


Development of a rapid, sensitive and specific assay for immunogenicity detection of therapeutic biologics

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2013 Funding: $310,000 / 2 years Beginning: September 2014 Immunogenicity can be a problem when treating patients with biologics, which can result in anti-drug antibody (ADA) production. ADA can reduce the bioavailability of the biologics and cause adverse clinical events. There is a need in the pharmaceutical industry for assays to detect immunogenicity of biologics. It … Read More


Cycloinformatics: A platform for rapid production of medium-sized macrocycles as protein-protein interaction probes

  Competition: Québec / Ontario Program 2011 Funding: $1,000,000 / 2 years Beginning: September 2014 (COMPLETED PROJECT) A new class of cyclic peptide structures called macrocycles could reach intracellular drug targets to modulate protein-protein interactions currently inaccessible to most pharmaceutical agents. The potential to reach an untapped goldmine of new targets has attracted a great deal of interest and excitement in biopharmaceuticals. … Read More


Genetic interactions studies to better establish efficacious drug targets

  Competition: EXPLORE Program 2014 Funding: $300,000 / 2 years Beginning: June 2015 A major challenge for pharmaceutical companies is identifying efficacious drug targets. Genetic interactions, where the effects of disrupting multiple genes at once are measured, enable unbiased interrogation of functional relationships between any genes of interest. When applied to many genes systematically, an interaction network emerges, and this … Read More