For those who like reading the Calico tea leaves, here are a few details on one of their recent partnerships. Calico, the California Life Company, is the aging research venture funded by Google. It launched a few years back, but so far those involved appear to be doing nothing particularly radical, insofar as we know anything about what is going on there. Calico is certainly not supporting the SENS view of damage repair as the best way to treat aging, and may well be turn out to be simply a larger and more secretive version of the Ellison Medical Foundation in the end: an expansion of the largely investigative work already taking place at the NIA, undertaking no projects with the potential to make a large difference to the course of aging in humans. More research is always better than less research, of course, but nonetheless this has grown to have the look of another missed opportunity to add to the recent history of aging research.
Here, Calico is partnering to obtain access to a technology that could be turned to ways to adjust the level of any one or any few of the proteins present in a cell. The approach works by harnessing one of the cell's established recycling mechanisms. This might be intended as an alternative to methods such as RNA interference for use in adjusting cellular operation. The goal is to tinker with the switches and dials of metabolism, all of which are influenced or determined by levels of specific proteins, in order to test approaches that might slightly slow aging by reducing the pace at which damage accumulates. More positively, it might be turned to degrading forms of metabolic waste that cause aging, though beyond amyloid and Alzheimer's disease, there is little sign that Calico researchers are interested in the list of waste compounds outlined in the SENS rejuvenation research proposals, such as cross-links, lipofusin, and so forth.
C4 Therapeutics (C4T) and Calico today announced a five-year collaboration to discover, develop, and commercialize therapies for treating diseases of aging, including cancer. Under the terms of the agreement, the parties will leverage C4T's expertise and capabilities in targeted protein degradation to jointly discover and advance small molecule protein degraders as therapeutic agents to remove certain disease-causing proteins. The partnership will pursue preclinical research and Calico will be responsible for subsequent clinical development and commercialization of resulting products that may emerge from the collaboration.
"We know from decades of translational research that it can be incredibly challenging to find effective pharmacologic inhibitors of many of the biologically well-validated targets, particularly in cancer. Through the alternative strategy of specifically targeting such proteins for degradation, we believe we have the opportunity to identify promising new therapeutics in cancer and in other diseases as well. We're looking forward to collaborating with C4T's scientists and applying their protein degradation technology to the discovery and development of effective new treatments."
C4 Therapeutics is a private biotechnology company developing a new class of drugs based on Targeted Protein Degradation (TPD) to address a broad range of life-threatening and life-impairing diseases. C4T's platform uses small molecule drugs to direct the machinery of the ubiquitin-proteasome system to selectively degrade disease-relevant proteins for therapeutic benefit. This distinctive mechanism provides new opportunities to target traditionally difficult-to-treat diseases and diseases plagued by drug resistance.