Booming C4 Therapeutics to Move Out of Pricey Kendall Square Next Year

Published: Jul 12, 2017

Booming C4 Therapeutics to Move Out of Pricey Kendall Square Next Year July 11, 2017
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff

C4 Therapeutics, headquartered in crowded biotech enclave Kendall Square in Cambridge, Mass., is moving its offices to nearby Watertown to double its square footage and save money with lower rent.

C4 Therapeutics had 20,000 square feet of space in Kendall Square, but its new location is more than double that size.

C4 Therapeutics works to develop drugs based on what it calls the DEGRONIMID paradigm. DEGRONIMID recruits the E3 ligase cereblon, which is part of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), to BRD4 by the proteasome. It is a very complicated way of saying that C4 is working on a way of tagging harmful proteins so they get taken out with the trash.

Andy Phillips, C4’s president and chief scientific officer, told BioSpace back in January, “It’s similar to putting out trash, in many ways. Small towns and cities have pretty organized systems for getting rid of things. We put little Post-it notes on recycled materials or trash for the landfill, and cells have a similar system—a system called ubiquitin, to determine whether things are headed for general recycling or specifically headed for the trash. And there’s a system for putting the ubiquitin tags on a well.”

The company was founded on the work of Jay Bradner, currently president of the Novartis Institute for Biomedical Research (NIBR), while he was a researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and Nathanael Gray, professor of biological chemistry and molecular pharmacology at Harvard Medical School and an investigator at Dana Farber.

The company was launched in December 2015, and financing was closed in early 2016 with a $75 million Series A round. Cobro Ventures led the round and was joined by Cormorant Asset Management, The Kraft Group, EG Capital Group, Roche and Novartis . At the same time it announced the financing round, the company also entered into a strategic collaboration deal with Roche to develop novel drugs in the field of targeted protein degradation (TPD).

And in March 2017, C4 inked a five-year collaboration deal with Calico Life Sciences, a company under the Google/Alphabet umbrella. Under the terms of that deal, the partnership will focus on preclinical research and Calico will handle subsequent clinical development and commercialization of any resulting products. No financial details were disclosed.

Calico is focused on the biological mechanisms of aging. Phillips told MedCityNews at the time, “Overall homeostasis of proteins (the balance of protein synthesis and protein degradation) is of great importance to normal health. In some cases, an excess of a protein can be central to disease (e.g. overexpression of an oncogenic protein) and in other cases, erroneous protein degradation can result in disease (e.g. the teratogenic effects of thalidomide.) Many neurodegenerative disorders also provide examples of misbalanced synthesis and degradation of proteins.”

Although C4 Therapeutics’ financing suggests that money isn’t the biggest issue, leaving Cambridge appears to be a trend recently for some biotech companies, which are heading for the suburbs for cheaper rent. Examples include Exosome Diagnostics, Dragonfly Therapeutics, and RaNA Therapeutics (now renamed Translate Bio).

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