Kymera Therapeutics announced a $30M Series A Financing round to advance a transformational new therapeutic modality and discover breakthrough medicines for patients with previously untreatable diseases. The company is pioneering a novel targeted protein degradation platform and approach to accelerate drug discovery and development, and deliver on its mission. The round was led by Atlas Venture, which co-founded, seeded, and incubated the company, along with Lilly Ventures and Amgen Ventures.
The company also announced the appointment of Laurent Audoly, Ph.D., as president and CEO. Dr. Audoly has led pharmaceutical and biotechnology R&D organizations in the US and EU for more than 20 years, advancing the discovery and development of novel medicines at Pierre Fabre, Pfizer, Merck, MedImmune and Pieris. He joins Kymera from Pierre Fabre, an EU-based pharmaceutical company, where he was head of R&D, championing multiple partnerships on numerous assets and technologies, advancing its pipeline and reorganizing its business model.
“Kymera is a transformational biotechnology company focused on advancing the new therapeutic modality of targeted protein degradation, a technology that has the potential to tremendously expand our ability to treat diseases,” said Bruce Booth, D. Phil., co-founder and chairman of Kymera Therapeutics and partner at Atlas Venture. “With Laurent’s leadership and the backing of a strong team of co-founders, scientists and investors, the organization is well positioned to not only advance its programs, but the entire field of protein degradation.”
Kymera’s novel approach leverages the body’s innate protein degradation and recycling machinery, the ubiquitin-proteasome system, to knock down disease-causing proteins, regardless of their function. This pharmacological effect is distinct from conventional small molecule therapeutics that are largely limited to inhibition of functional catalysis. Using a small molecule-mediated knockdown strategy, Kymera is developing heterobifunctional molecules that catalytically recruit specific proteins to E3 ubiquitin ligases, resulting in the targeted protein’s ubiquitination and subsequent irreversible degradation.
The company’s proprietary integrated degradation platform consists of informatics-driven target identification, novel E3 ligases and ligands, proprietary predictive modeling, and novel degradation tools.
“Kymera’s differentiated drug discovery platform was designed to further advance current targeted protein degradation approaches by enabling the identification of specific target protein and E3 ligase pairs,” said Nello Mainolfi, Ph.D., co-founder and chief technology officer, Kymera Therapeutics. “This efficient approach allows us to identify and pursue the most tractable targets with the greatest potential benefit to patients, and to efficiently resource and accelerate programs toward the clinic.”
Kymera is currently pursuing a focused number of programs in oncology, immuno-oncology, autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, and expects to engage in strategic partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies in these and other therapeutic areas. The company plans to nominate its first development candidate next year.
“Kymera’s team of drug hunters supported by top tier investors is on a path to transforming drug discovery and development. I’m very excited to join Kymera at this stage and contribute to advancing this novel drug modality and pipeline towards the clinic. Ninety percent of the proteome cannot be addressed with conventional drug discovery technologies. Kymera’s platform can be deployed against practically any disease-causing protein,” said Dr. Audoly, president & CEO, Kymera Therapeutics. “Our targeted protein degradation technology and integrated drug discovery platform has the potential to generate game-changing new therapies for otherwise intractable diseases.”
Kymera has assembled a world-class network of academic advisors around the drug discovery platform and disease biology, top-tier investors, and experienced drug developers. Collectively, the Kymera team has contributed to the discovery of dozens of drug candidates, and a number of important FDA approved therapeutics.
Scientific advisors to the company include:
- David Spiegel, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry, Yale University
- Steven A. Carr, Ph.D., Senior Director of Proteomics, Broad Institute
- Michele Pagano, M.D., Chair, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, New York UniversitySchool of Medicine and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
- Ning Zheng, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology, University of Washington and Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Kymera’s Board of Directors includes Dr. Audoly, president and CEO; Dr. Booth, chairman; and Dr. Steve Hall, general partner at Lilly Ventures.