Bloomberg Businessweek

Using the Body’s Trash Disposals to Fight Cancer

• Drugmakers are betting big on technologies that tag and destroy the proteins behind fatal diseases
Crews pioneered protein degrader drug technology

At their most basic level, many of the deadliest diseases are caused by nests of misguided proteins. Most medicines work by attaching themselves to these proteins and temporarily shutting them down. In the 1990s, Yale University scientist Craig Crews and a colleague had a radical idea: What if a drug could destroy a bad protein by making it a target of the body’s own molecular trash disposal machines?

For years, the idea was a lab curiosity. Biotech investors wouldn’t initially back a company based on the concept, which Crews and a few other academics labored to prove could be a practical way to make drugs. The field got a big boost earlier this decade when scientists discovered that some of

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