science & platforms

Scientific Approach

Scientific Approach

The Science Behind the Story

Frontier Medicines scientist analyzing an image

Nearly two decades have passed since the sequencing of the human genome, which has greatly facilitated our understanding of cellular mechanisms of action, systems biology and – importantly – the identification and validation of disease targets. Yet many of these targets are neglected; usually because they fall outside what has been historically considered druggable. This greatly limits the number of targets implicated in disease that are accessible to therapeutic intervention.

Enabling transformative access to therapeutic targets

In order for a drug to be effective against a protein, it needs first to bind to it. Until now, approximately 90% of human proteins have not been effectively targeted by small-molecule drugs because there are no known binding sites on the surface of the protein and existing chemical libraries have failed to yield leads. Many exciting, well validated therapeutic targets do not contain classical binding sites and thus demand innovative approaches. Frontier has a unique methodology for pushing the boundaries of this scientific frontier.

Unlocking access to formerly undruggable cancer drivers

Frontier is developing precision medicines against important disease-causing proteins that the biopharma industry has not been able to drug with standard pharmaceutical interventions. We have established The FrontierTM Platform that leverages groundbreaking scientific approaches in chemoproteomics, covalent drug discovery, and machine learning to uncover and pharmacologically target pockets within disordered regions and cryptic binding sites on these proteins, making them accessible to therapeutic intervention by small-molecule drugs.

Frontier Medicines’ druggable hotspot database
Tackling important disease drivers

Frontier’s initial focus is on the development of cancer therapeutics. Decades of research have identified critical cancer-causing proteins that to-date have not been successfully drugged. The need for truly novel classes of anti-cancer therapies remains high. There were an estimated 19.3 million new cancer cases and almost 10 million cancer deaths worldwide in 2020 (doi: 10.3322/caac.21660). Frontier’s precision medicines pipeline tackles the most important disease drivers and provide patients with novel, more effective precision cancer therapeutics.


Combining Chemoproteomics with Machine Learning Identifies Functional Covalent Fragments for Hard-to-Drug Cancer Drivers

2023 American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting (Abstract 1142)

Targeting Mutant KRAS

Erlanson DA, Webster KR. Targeting mutant KRAS. Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2021 Apr 7;62:101-108. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2021.02.010.

Fragment-to-Lead Medicinal Chemistry Publications in 2019

Jahnke W, Erlanson DA, de Esch IJP, Johnson CN, Mortenson PN, Ochi Y, Urushima T. Fragment-to-Lead Medicinal Chemistry Publications in 2019. J Med Chem. 2020 Dec 24;63(24):15494-15507. doi: 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.0c01608.