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A conversation with Gregory Verdine

What will drugs look like in the coming decade? This is the question being posed by Gregory Verdine and the next-generation therapeutic modalities team he leads at Third Rock Ventures. One answer, Verdine believes, is hybrid platforms of synthetically modified biomolecules that combine the advantages of small molecules and biologics.

SciBX met with Verdine at his Harvard University office to talk about the science that is driving the discovery of new drug modalities and the challenges of bridging the gap between good science and commercialization.Verdine is director of the program in cancer chemical biology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvardand, since 2009, a venture partner at Third Rock.

SciBX: Where do you see opportunities emerging for new types

of drugs?

Gregory Verdine: I believe that 10 years from now, when we look at the types of molecular structures that we consider to be 'drug-like', these structures will be considerably more diverse than now. In other words, we are entering a period in which we will see a significant expansion in the types of molecules that succeed as drugs. This process is already underway, as many pharmaceutical companies have begun explicit efforts at broadening the structural base of targeting molecules. These new modalities are likely to include nucleic acids beyond antisense and siRNA, carbohydrates and peptides, among others, but also interesting fusions, such as small molecule-protein conjugates. Some of these classes

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