Targets for protein therapeutics are proteins in the body that when inappropriately produced or altered can result in human diseases. Protein therapeutics can be designed to reverse these disease-causing mechanisms. Traditional ways to discover new targets for protein therapeutics have relied on a slow “trial-and-error” approach studying a single or a small number of proteins at a time. While there are more than 5,700 proteins in the body that represent potential protein therapeutic targets, only about 30 are targeted by currently marketed protein drugs in cancer and inflammatory diseases.
Five Prime has successfully developed a platform to improve the traditionally difficult and slow process of discovering new protein therapeutics.
The platform is based on two components:
- a proprietary library of more than 5,700 human extracellular proteins that we believe is the most comprehensive collection of fully functional extracellular proteins and is an abundant source of medically relevant novel targets for protein therapeutics; and
- proprietary and new technologies for producing and testing thousands of proteins at a time.
We believe our platform improves and accelerates the discovery of new protein targets and protein therapeutics because it can:
- identify novel medically relevant protein targets and protein therapeutics that have little or no previously known biological function or are not in the public domain and cannot easily be discovered by other methods;
- determine the best protein target among many alternatives for a particular disease by screening and comparing nearly all possible medically important targets simultaneously using our high-throughput cell-based screens and Rapid In Vivo Protein Production System; and
- identify new targets more quickly and efficiently than previously possible because it can produce and test thousands of proteins at a time, rather than one or just a few at a time.
We believe that in our discovery platform we control a unique and valuable set of resources. We spent approximately seven years developing and integrating the components of our discovery platform, and the scientific expertise and time required imposes significant barriers to entry as it would be difficult for a competitor to reproduce. Given the dearth of new target discovery in the biopharmaceutical industry and the continued need for pharmaceutical companies to restock pipelines and replace aging products facing patent expiry, we believe that the platform will continue to provide opportunities for monetization through product and discovery collaborations as it has done in the past.