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ICR and Cancer Research UK spinout launches library of anti-cancer compounds

Monte Rosa Therapeutics is a spin-out formed by Versant Ventures, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and Cancer Research UK that aims to target cancer using new drugs using protein degradation.

Protein degradation for cancer involves co-opting ubiquitin ligases to destroy cancer-causing proteins that cannot be targeted by current drug types.

Monte Rosa was formed in 2018 with the involvement of Cancer Research UK-funded scientists Professor Ian Collins and Professor Raj Chopra.  The company has build an integrated drug discovery platform that combines one of the most diverse chemical libraries of small-molecule protein degraders with in-house proteomics and structural biology capabilities.

The small molecules stick together ubiquitin ligases with other protein targets. Ubiquitin ligases are large cellular proteins that are involved in the natural degradation of cell products offering a new therapeutic option for cancer patients.

Monte Rosa Therapeutics expects the chemical library they have to grow to more than 10,000 structures designed for ubiquitin ligase reprogramming by the end of 2020.

MRT-048, one of the company’s leading small molecule compounds, was discovered by chemists in the Cancer Research UK Cancer Therapeutics Unit at the ICR, who also developed the initial library of protein degraders.

Monte Rosa embarked on further research with ICR and CRUK to show the potential of MRT-048 as a new breast cancer treatment. Cancer Research UK and ICR are eligible to receive milestones and royalties on future products discovered or developed under the collaboration between Monte Rose, the ICR and Cancer Research UK.