Nurix Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ:NRIX), a biopharmaceutical company developing targeted protein modulation drugs, today announced that it is part of a collaboration sponsored by Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a leading funder of pediatric cancer research, to develop a drug to potentially treat aggressive childhood cancers including neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma. Nurix will provide its extensive expertise in E3 ligases and use its proprietary DNA-encoded library to help identify small-molecule degraders of MYCN, a target previously considered undruggable. The program is one of four that are being supported by an $18.5 million grant from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation’s Crazy 8 initiative, which is designed to bring together world-class research talent to accelerate the pace of new cure discovery in childhood cancer. For more information on this initiative see this morning’s statement from ALSF.
“We believe that discovering and developing drugs that target the MYCN oncoprotein has the possibility to make a major difference in the lives of children suffering from neural derived cancers,” said Gwenn M. Hansen, Ph.D., Nurix’s chief scientific officer. “Bringing forward therapeutics that address difficult to drug targets like MYCN is aligned with Nurix’s mission, and we are motivated by the clear unmet need in this pediatric patient population.”
Nurix will collaborate with a pre-eminent global research team to bring drug discovery technology and development expertise to the effort. The program’s goal is to identify and evaluate small molecules that promote targeted protein degradation of the transcription factor MYCN to potentially drive tumor destruction. MYCN is a known driver of aggressive pediatric cancers such as neuroblastoma and medulloblastoma. The scientific challenges of targeting MYCN and the approach of this collaboration are outlined in a recent review article: “Drugging the 'undruggable' MYCN oncogenic transcription factor: Overcoming previous obstacles to impact childhood cancers” published online ahead of print edition of Cancer Research (doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-20-3108).