Our Platform: The Foundation to See New Possibilities
Protein growth factors have been long recognized by the industry as important targets given their fundamental roles in regulating a variety of normal cellular processes. Traditional approaches have targeted the mature form of growth factors or downstream signaling pathways. However, these targeting approaches are fraught with challenges. Mature growth factors are structurally similar, making it difficult for therapeutic drugs to differentiate between them, leading to unintended negative effects on the body.
Our approach to the discovery and development of growth factor-targeted drugs is fundamentally new and different.
By exploiting greater structural differences amongst the inactive forms of growth factors, our uniquely designed antibodies selectively target the precursor, or latent, forms of growth factors in the microenvironment of cells and tissues. By doing so, we hope to overcome the challenges that have plagued traditional approaches.
How it works
Let’s Set the Scene
- Cells produce protein growth factors in the precursor, or latent, form
- Enzymes cut the precursor form into two, distinct pieces (protein chains); though largely physically separated, the two remain associated
- One chain, referred to as the prodomain, forms a cage around the second piece, the mature growth factor, and keeps it from activating a signaling cascade
- For the mature growth factor to carry out its function, it must be activated (through molecular events) and separated from the prodomain
- Traditional approaches have focused on targeting the mature growth factor, which have minimal structural differences across the family of growth factors
Enter Scholar Rock
- Our antibodies target the prodomain of the precursor, or latent form of growth factors, and block the cage’s lock to inhibit activation
- Given the much greater structural differences of the prodomain, we leverage this variance to achieve extraordinary selectivity
- With greater selectivity, we aim to minimize toxicity that have challenged approaches that target the mature form of growth factors
“Our expertise and deep know-how enables us to discover and engineer antibodies that are highly selective and developable as therapeutics.”
Sr. Director, Antibody Discovery & Protein Sciences
A Look to the Future
We use our platform to inspire newfound hope within patients and the scientific community. Not only does our selectivity apply to other protein growth factors outside the TGFβ superfamily, but it’s also an opportunity to confront targets apart from growth factors—where we combine our deep, structural insights to antibody drug discovery in places many thought impassable.
In partnership with Gilead Sciences