Palleon Co-Founder Dr. Carolyn Bertozzi Awarded Nobel Prize in Chemistry for Pioneering Methods of Studying Glycobiology
– Dr. Bertozzi invented bioorthogonal chemistry which enabled foundational discoveries in glycobiology and pioneered translation of this field into a new area of drug development –
WALTHAM, MA, October 5, 2022 — Palleon Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage company pioneering glyco-immunology drug development to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases, today announced that the company’s scientific co-founder Carolyn Bertozzi, Ph.D., has been awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. This commendation reflects Dr. Bertozzi’s deep contributions not only to chemistry but to biology and medicine, including the foundational science underlying Palleon’s first-in-class, clinical-stage therapeutic platform.
Dr. Bertozzi invented the field of bioorthogonal chemistry, which allows researchers to chemically modify molecules in living systems without interfering with normal cell functions. These methods were particularly important for understanding the function of cell surface glycosylation and ultimately led to the discovery that a class of glycans, known as sialoglycans suppresses the immune system in cancer. For decades, a greater density of sialoglycans on tumor cell surfaces had been known to correlate with worse outcomes for patients, but the mechanism was unknown.
Dr. Bertozzi shares the award with Morten Meldal, Ph.D., and K. Barry Sharpless, Ph.D, who laid the foundation for click chemistry, a functional form of chemistry where molecular building blocks snap together quickly and efficiently. Dr. Bertozzi’s work took this approach to a new level by utilizing it in living organisms. Dr. Sharpless is an American scientist who previously won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2001. He currently serves as the W.M. Keck Professor of Chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Dr. Meldal is a Danish chemist and professor of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen.
“Our entire team congratulates Carolyn on this tremendous recognition of how her work informed the world’s understanding of how glycans regulate the immune system, and how dysregulated glycans cause immune suppression in tumors, potentially affecting the majority of cancer patients,” said Jim Broderick, M.D., Chief Executive Officer and founder of Palleon Pharmaceuticals. “As a scientific co-founder of Palleon, Carolyn is a pioneer in translating her discoveries into an entirely new class of investigational therapies that may benefit millions of patients who do not respond to existing treatments.”
Dr. Bertozzi’s research provided the critical link for understanding how cell surface glycosylation is involved in immune modulation. This discovery became the basis for her joining Palleon in 2016 as a scientific co-founder and for the development of the company’s proprietary EAGLE (Enzyme-Antibody-Glycan-Ligand-Editing) drug development platform, which utilizes sialidase enzymes to restore antitumor immunity.
Today, Palleon is advancing a rich clinical-stage pipeline of therapeutic candidates in immuno-oncology and inflammatory disorders which has the potential to impact millions of patients worldwide. Palleon’s lead candidate, E-602 is a first-in-class, glyco-immune checkpoint inhibitor which restores antitumor immunity by enzymatically degrading immunosuppressive sialoglycans on hypersialylated tumors and immune cells. E-602 is currently being investigated in a Phase 1/2 trial designed to assess the safety, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics, and antitumor activity (NCT#05259696). In June, Palleon formed a regional partnership with Shanghai Henlius Biotech, a global biopharmaceutical company, to develop and commercialize two antigen-targeted bifunctional sialidase programs.
About Palleon Pharmaceuticals
Palleon Pharmaceuticals is a biotechnology company pioneering glyco-immunology drug development to transform the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases. The Company’s proprietary platforms overcome technical barriers unique to glycobiology to enable drug discovery, patient selection, and indication prioritization to de-risk clinical development. The company’s lead program in oncology, E-602, is a Phase 1/2, first-in-class, glyco-immune checkpoint inhibitor which restores antitumor immunity by enzymatically degrading immunosuppressive sialoglycans on hypersialylated tumors and immune cells. Palleon has a rich pipeline of additional drug candidates including several advancing toward IND-enabling studies.
Ten Bridge Communications