Eisai and Dundee University collaborate on PROTACs agreement

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Japan’s Eisai has entered into a collaboration agreement with the University of Dundee in Scotland to advanced Proteolysis Targeting Chimeras (PROTACs) toward drug discovery in oncology.

PROTACs consist of two covalently linked protein-binding molecules: one capable of engaging an ubiquitin ligase (E3 ligase) and another that binds to a target protein meant for degradation.

They work by recruiting an E3 ligase to tag the target protein for ubiquitination for degradation through the intracellular degradation system.

It is hoped that research into this area will lead to new drug discoveries for proteins present in cancer, which are difficult to treat with conventional small molecule inhibitors.

Professor Alessio Ciulli, one of the global pioneers in the field of PROTACs research, at the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, will be responsible for directing the research.

The collaboration combines the expertise and technology of the Professor Ciulli laboratory in PROTACs research with Eisai’s discovery researches and clinical development experiences in oncology area as well as findings of target protein degradation based on our basic researches to aim to create innovative new drugs.

Under the terms of the agreement, Eisai has the option rights to develop and commercialise the compounds resulted from the collaboration research. If Eisai exercises the options, an upfront, milestone payments, and royalties on sales will be paid.