$4.3 million awarded to advance transcription factor drugs

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Talus Bio has received $4.3 million in new grants from the National Institutes for Health (NIH) and the Washington State Andy Hill CARE Fund to advance its paediatric cancer therapeutics.

The Seattle-based company received two grants totalling $2.3M from the CARE Fund to fuel the discovery of new transcription factor inhibitors for rhabdomyosarcoma and neuroblastoma, two childhood cancers.

Talus Bio was also awarded a $2.0M SBIR fast-track grant from the NIH to apply its proprietary Multiplexed Assays for the Rational Modulation Of Transcription Factors (MARMOT) platform to their deep learning AI model and accelerate the development of transcription factor drugs.

Transcription factors are proteins that control every gene in a person’s genome by binding to DNA and flipping the on/off switches that govern gene expression. When they go awry, they often drive cancer and other disease processes like diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and neurological conditions.

“At Talus Bio we believe ‘nothing is undruggable.’ This funding will enable us to accelerate and optimise new molecules to address diseases that are driven by regulatory protein dysfunction,” said Talus Bio CEO and Co-Founder Alex Federation. “We’re using this momentum to accelerate and optimise drug discovery for diseases including these two childhood cancers, while simultaneously interrogating other promising targets for development in-house or through out-licensing with pharma partners.”

Talus Bio’s pipeline also includes the first inhibitor blocking a previously undruggable transcription factor that drives chordoma. Chordoma is a spinal cord cancer that is resistant to chemotherapy.

This new grant funding follows a previous $2.45M fast-track award from the NIH to commercialise the MARMOT platform and identify small molecule inhibitors that target oncogenic gene fusion proteins in MLL-rearranged leukaemias.

Edited by Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, Drug Discovery World

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