An Epigenetics Approach To Regulating IL-17 Signaling
This article was originally published in Start Up
As a research strategy, epigenetics is largely thought of in the realm of cancer therapy. But Constellation Pharmaceuticals Inc. sees application to the development of immunology drugs through the regulation of IL-17 signaling, doing so farther upstream than the biologics that aim at either the molecule itself or its receptor.
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A series of recent and anticipated events is drawing attention to interleukin-17 and related cytokines – a set of immunological drug targets of long-standing interest to large and small companies. The current crop of big-company candidates are biologics and may prove too harsh for all but the most severe immunological conditions, leaving room for start-ups developing small molecules.
Epigenetic modifiers are targeting a widening range of indications as growing knowledge of the underlying biology enables improved agents and therapeutic strategies. Nonetheless, issues of selectivity, toxicity, and finding adequate biomarkers still prevent the field from reaching its full potential.
Constellation and EpiZyme are poised to become dominant players in the unfolding field of epigenetics, an area of biology replete with novel, interesting targets and broad therapeutic potential. The two companies have adopted similar and until now stealthy strategies, aimed at parlaying a platform of novel products into a quick and lucrative exit.