Daniel Nomura, Vicinitas Therapeutics founder

'Tip of the ice­berg': No­var­tis-part­nered UC Berke­ley lab churns out a start­up to tack­le pro­tein sta­bi­liza­tion

For the past decade, Daniel No­mu­ra’s lab at UC Berke­ley has been work­ing to find chem­i­cal ap­proach­es to drug the so-called “un­drug­gable,” and with the help of No­var­tis’ re­search arm for the past five years, he has built out the foun­da­tion for a new biotech in the pro­tein sta­bi­liza­tion field.

Vicini­tas Ther­a­peu­tics joins a small field of up­starts look­ing to flip the switch and fo­cus on sta­bi­liz­ing cer­tain pro­teins, rather than de­grad­ing them. Cys­tic fi­bro­sis is a good ex­am­ple of a dis­ease that could ben­e­fit from small mol­e­cules aimed at sta­bi­liz­ing the CFTR pro­tein, which is what No­mu­ra’s lab did in a re­cent Na­ture Chem­i­cal Bi­ol­o­gy pa­per, serv­ing as the ba­sis for Vicini­tas.

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