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24 March, 2021 - 13:57 By Tony Quested

Small molecule startup takes bow with £5m investment

A thrusting young life science startup in Cambridge has emerged from stealth in wealth ready to take on the world with a game-changing proposition.

Dunad Therapeutics is developing next-generation small molecule therapeutics based on what it calls “highly differentiated, tuneable and targeted protein degradation technology.”

Dunad has secured £5 million initial financing from Epidarex Capital, a transatlantic venture firm that specialises in seeding and building exceptional early-stage life science companies.

Dunad’s small molecule platform induces targeted degradation of disease-causing and often undruggable proteins via direct modification of the target using mono-valent small molecules. 

The company’s novel molecular approach is fully tuneable to be exquisitely selective and underpinned by a target-class agnostic mechanism of action that is distinct from other targeted protein degradation technologies. 

Dunad says its platform has the potential to unlock access to orally bioavailable and CNS-accessible degrader therapeutics and expand the frontiers of protein degradation targets.

The company is further building the platform, enhancing its proteomics and bioinformatics infrastructure and expanding its proprietary library of covalent degraders with the aim to advance its emerging pipeline of novel therapeutics, predominantly focused on oncology and CNS indications.

Professor Patrick Gunning, Dunad’s co-founder, acting CEO and CSO said: “Inducing degradation via direct modulation of target proteins’ topology with a mono-valent small molecule, makes for a more effective drug discovery and development path. 

“To-date there has not been a broadly applicable, plug-and-play, mono-valent approach to protein degradation and we believe Dunad’s unique platform provides the potential to deliver next-generation degrader therapeutics with advantages over traditional drugs against a wide range of diseases.”

Dr Liz Roper, Partner at Epidarex Capital, added: “Epidarex has been tracking the exciting field of targeted protein degradation and has developed a strong appreciation for the valuable opportunities it presents for novel drug discovery.

“Dunad’s highly innovative and differentiated approach, based on world-class science, caught our attention as it overcomes several of the major challenges with current degradation platforms, including oral bioavailability and CNS exposure.”

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