Kymera Emerges Out of Stealth Mode With $30M and a Top Team of Drug Hunters
Kymera Therapeutics launched with a $30 million Series A financing. It was led by Atlas Venture, which co-founded, seeded and incubated the company. It was joined by Lilly Ventures and Amgen Ventures.
Kymera’s approach to drug development utilizes the body’s innate protein degradation and recycling abilities, the ubiquitin-proteasome system. The idea is that doing so will knock down disease-causing proteins. The company states it “is developing heterobifunctional molecules that catalytically recruit specific proteins to E3 ubiquitin ligases, resulting in the targeted protein’s ubiquitination and subsequent irreversible degradation.”
“Kymera is a transformational biotechnology company focused on advancing the new therapeutic modality of targeted protein degradation, a technology that has the potential to tremendously expand our ability to treat diseases,” said Bruce Booth, Kymera’s co-founder and chairman, in a statement. “With Laurent’s leadership and the backing of a strong team of co-founders, scientists and investors, the organization is well positioned to not only advance its programs, but the entire field of protein degradation.”
In addition to the financing, the company appointed Laurent Audoly as president and chief executive officer. Audoly was mostly recently head of R&D for Pierre Fabre, a European pharmaceutical company. He has also held positions at Pfizer, Merck, MedImmune and Pieris.
The company’s technology platform is made up of informatics-driven target identification, novel E3 ligases and ligands, proprietary predictive modeling, and novel degradation tools.
“Kymera’s differentiated drug discovery platform was designed to further advance current targeted protein degradation approaches by enabling the identification of specific target protein and E3 ligase pairs,” said Nello Mainolfi, co-founder and chief technology officer of Kymera, in a statement. “This efficient approach allows us to identify and pursue the most tractable targets with the greatest potential benefit to patients, and to efficiently resource and accelerate programs toward the clinic.”
The company has several programs covering a variety of disease modalities, including oncology, immuno-oncology, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. It is looking for strategic partners and hopes to identify its first development candidate next year.
The company’s scientific advisors include David Spiegel, professor of Chemistry at Yale University, Steven Carr, senior director of Proteomics at the Broad Institute, Michele Pagano, chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at the New York University School of Medicine and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes, and Ning Zheng, professor of Pharmacology at the University of Washington and an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
“Kymera’s team of drug hunters supported by top tier investors is on a path to transforming drug discovery and development,” said Audoly in a statement. “I’m very excited to join Kymera at this stage and contribute to advancing this novel drug modality and pipeline towards the clinic. Ninety percent of the proteome cannot be addressed with conventional drug discovery technologies. Kymera’s platform can be deployed against practically any disease-causing protein. Our targeted protein degradation technology and integrated drug discovery platform has the potential to generate game-changing new therapies for otherwise intractable diseases.”