Going where PROTACs can't, Versant unveils $50M bet on Carolyn Bertozzi's LYTAC tech — with a rising star at the helm
When the first protein degradation companies announced themselves to the biotech world around 2013, wielding PROTACs — proteolysis targeting chimeras — they promised to break the rules on what proteins were thought to be “druggable.” But a sizable chunk remained stubbornly outside of that realm, out of reach for a technology that works exclusively inside cells: extracellular proteins.
The glaring hole likely explains the “extreme interest” that Carolyn Bertozzi received when her Stanford team posted a preprint describing LYTACs, or lysosome-targeting chimeras. Like PROTACs, they leverage the body’s natural garbage disposal systems; rather than E3 ligases, they make use of the endosome that traffics material to the lysosome.
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