Calithera: Activating Caspases

Calithera's caspase activators may be highly selective for specific cancers

Unlike most companies working on inducing apoptosis to treat cancer, which have focused on upstream components of the pathway, Calithera Biosciences Inc. has identified small molecules that work far downstream to activate caspases. The company thinks the ability to precisely target specific caspases may yield treatments that are highly selective for specific cancers.

The main challenge to overcome is finding the right caspase targets and optimizing dosing to preferentially kill cancer cells without harming healthy tissues, where caspases are broadly expressed.

Doing that will require extensive preclinical investigation, but

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