BI, University Of Dundee Partner For Disease-Causing Proteins

Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) and the University of Dundee in the United Kingdom have partnered to develop a class of medicines that target disease-causing proteins for degradation. The collaboration brings together Alessio Ciulli, PhD, associate professor of chemical and structural biology at the University of Dundee and one of the pioneers in the field of proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs), with BI's drug-discovery and clinical-development experience.

PROTACs are molecules designed to harness the cell's natural disposal system to remove disease-causing proteins by triggering the labelling of expired proteins that are then removed by proteasomes. PROTACs are anticipated to be applicable to oncology, immunology and respiratory diseases. To trigger the degradation of target proteins, PROTACs are made of a moiety that binds the target and a moiety that binds a ubiquitin ligase enzyme, and as a result they are likely to exceed the size of conventional oral drug molecules. The design of such “medium-sized” drug molecules represents a challenge, according to BI.

The collaboration will build on Dr. Cuilli's and his team's work and will have access to facilities and expertise available within the school of life sciences at the University of Dundee. The university is a biotechnology hub in the east of Scotland, which now accounts for 16% of the local economy.

Source: Boehringer Ingelheim

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