Sibylla Biotech and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center entered into a strategic collaboration agreement to discover and develop novel small-molecule cancer therapies—Folding Interfering Degraders (FIDs), which disrupt the proper folding of target proteins and lead to their degradation.

Sibylla and MD Anderson will jointly conduct discovery and development work from target identification through drug candidate nomination on selected proteins, with the potential to continue further pre-clinical and clinical development. The collaboration brings together Sibylla’s Pharmacological Protein Inactivation by Folding Intermediates Targeting (PPI-FIT) technology with the drug development expertise and capabilities of MD Anderson’s Therapeutic Discovery division.

“The Sibylla team is committed to expanding the applications of our PPI-FIT technology and FIDs to provide new treatment options for hard-to-treat indications. This collaboration builds upon the progress we have achieved to date and the applicability of our technology and know-how,” said Lidia Pieri, PhD, co-founder and CEO of Sibylla Biotech. “We value the opportunity to work with MD Anderson’s team of drug development experts to foster our vision of treating patients with high unmet medical need.”

Small molecules that induce protein degradation

Sibylla’s proprietary PPI-FIT technology is used to discover and develop FIDs, small molecules that induce the degradation of target proteins by interfering with the folding pathway. Notably, PPI-FIT can be applied to target proteins currently considered “undruggable” due to the absence of suitable pockets in their native state.

“Folding interfering degraders represent an exciting new modality to target key cancer drivers, and we look forward to opportunities to advance compelling candidates forward as novel therapeutic options,” said Tim Heffernan, PhD, vice president and head of Therapeutic Discovery at MD Anderson. “By aligning Sibylla’s innovative PPI-FIT technology with our drug development engine, we hope to create impactful new medicines that will expand options for patients in need of more effective therapies.”

By uniting scientists, clinicians, and drug development experts together within MD Anderson, the institution’s Therapeutics Discovery division is designed to eliminate the bottlenecks slowing traditional drug discovery, explained Heffernan, adding that seamless integration with MD Anderson physicians allows Therapeutics Discovery to develop impactful cancer therapies inspired directly by patient needs and clinical insights.

Once a drug candidate is nominated, Sibylla and MD Anderson may consider further drug development, translational, and clinical activities to advance the candidate to patients in need.

(An MD Anderson official noted that MD Anderson has an institutional conflict of interest with Sibylla and will implement an Institutional Conflict of Interest Management and Monitoring Plan to manage this relationship.)

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