Guppy Tank: Targeting the “undruggable” proteome in cancer stem cells

Prof. Christina Woo (Harvard CCB)

Jul 29, 2021
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm | Remote


No sharks in these waters! Harvard's Office of Technology Development and LabCentral invite you to the latest event in the long-running Guppy Tank series, where teams of Harvard life-science innovators pitch their super-early-stage concepts to a panel of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry experts for constructive, in-depth feedback. This "episode" features innovations in oncology from the Harvard lab of Prof. Christina Woo.

Join us to hear a brief presentation, learn from experts on startup formation, and participate in giving audience feedback. All are welcome!

The Pitch

Targeting the "undruggable" proteome in cancer stem cells

Christina Woo, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Harvard University

About the project: Drug-induced protein degradation is an emerging strategy to inactivate disease-relevant proteins. Molecular glue-type degraders are small molecules that induce a novel interaction between a substrate receptor of an E3 ubiquitin ligase and a target protein, leading to proteolysis of the target. This approach can be applied to important drug targets that lack typical binding pockets for inhibitors such as transcription factors.

Researchers in Christina Woo’s Harvard lab developed a library of molecular glue-type degraders, and with funding from the Blavatnik Biomedical Accelerator, they characterized and selected two lead molecular glue-type compounds to advance further for the degradation of IKZF2 and CK1α, two novel drug targets involved in multiple diseases.

The team aims to develop these novel molecular glue compounds for indications in oncology (acute myeloid leukemia, chronic myeloid leukemia, T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, cervical cancer, thyroid cancer, urothelial cancer). The potential application of novel therapeutic degraders to target the protein network may also extend to a variety of other human diseases.

A startup is emerging from the lab to develop these findings, and the degraders, further toward clinical application. The team is eager to hear constructive feedback, from panelists and the Guppy Tank audience, on the commercialization strategy.


Harvard Office of Technology Development and LabCentral


Harvard OTD

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