Targets & Mechanisms

New targets in osteoarthritis are about more than just pain

New biological insights and increased recognition from FDA are transforming osteoarthritis from a testing ground for new pain therapies into its own high-priority indication. At least two mechanisms with disease-modifying potential for osteoarthritis (OA) have...

Biotechs explore the next generation of inflammasome targets, with caution

As the NLRP3 field gains momentum, drawing VC and pharma interest for the role the target plays in diseases ranging from NASH to neurodegeneration, biotechs are beginning to eye the next crop of inflammasome targets....

The tumor stroma rises as the newest source of immuno-oncology targets

With a spate of therapies entering the clinic, the next frontier in the fight against resistance to checkpoint inhibitors will be the stroma. The lead target marks a resurgence of interest in TGFβ, and behind...

Moving beyond the active site: why allostery is newly in fashion

A new crop of companies is creating tools to systematize development of allosteric protein inhibitors, finally moving industry beyond the one-off compounds that have been found by accident. Allosteric pockets on proteins have long been...

Following PARP, ATR axis next in line to expand synthetic lethal drug class

Promising ASCO readouts suggest targets in the ATR pathway are lining up behind PARP as the next drivers of “synthetic lethal” cancer killing. Biomarker and combination strategies presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology...

Targeting cancer evolution offers a way to foil drug resistance

A growing crop of researchers and companies are tackling cancer drug resistance by preempting tumors’ tendencies to adapt, rather than responding to resistance after it develops. Though still in their infancy, these therapies could get...

The tumor microbiome emerges as a new source of translational opportunities

While the gut microbiome has attracted wide attention for its influence on anti-tumor immunity, a growing body of research suggests microbes living in the tumor itself may play even broader roles in cancer. At least...

The next wave in neurodegeneration expands beyond neurons

Working in the background, while amyloid therapies have floundered, has been a group of companies betting that the immune system can do for neurodegeneration what it is has done for oncology. The first wave of...

Lurie Prize winner Belkaid outlines ways to harness microbiome-specific immunity

By working to understand how humans coexist with their microbiomes, 2019 Lurie Prize Winner Yasmine Belkaid is uncovering a vast, but largely ignored, arm of the immune system -- microbiome-specific T cells. She thinks targeting...

A venture view of biological white space

Scanning the horizon of translational research, VCs on BioCentury’s scientific advisory board see innate neuroinflammation as a white space area flush with under-tapped angles for drug development, and think the rise of single cell-level data...

Breaking up Hippo to tame proliferation

Drug developers are creating a new class of compounds that disrupt a protein-protein interaction in the Hippo pathway that goes awry in cancers and fibrotic diseases. At least two programs are poised to enter the...

Next-wave targets at AACR 2019 start filling the blanks in the tumor microenvironment

New and emerging targets at AACR 2019 show cancer researchers are gaining granularity on how to manipulate the tumor microenvironment, a top priority goal for the field. The targets point to emerging strategies for modulating...

AACR moves in a myeloid direction

Myeloid cells are showing up everywhere at this year’s AACR conference, suggesting the research community is rapidly expanding the ways it can harness the cell types to improve cancer immunotherapy responses. One of those ways...

Deconvoluting translation at Scripps

With three institutes now under one roof, Scripps Research has established both its own pipeline and a non-profit funding model to bring candidates through early stage clinical trials. Diverging from the philanthropy and investor-based approaches...

Oral insulin innovation

While clinical data suggest an oral insulin product may finally be within reach, the technology struggles to compete with injectables on price and efficacy. A handful of academics and companies are pushing preclinical innovation in...