DUB Platform

Overcoming challenges in developing DUB inhibitors

Mission Therapeutics has built a world-leading proprietary DUB platform for the discovery and development of first-in-class drugs that selectively target specific disease-associated DUBs.

Overcoming challenges in developing DUB inhibitors

As DUBs are a large family of proteins expressed in many different human cells and with many links to human disease, they have attracted much interest as drug targets. Nevertheless, the development of potent DUB inhibitors suitable for clinical development initially proved challenging due to issues linked to specificity and selectivity.

Since Mission’s foundation, our scientists have been focused solely on the biology of DUBs and the development of specific and highly potent small molecule drugs that inhibit the activity of specific DUB targets. We believe that our singular focus on this area has enabled us to solve many of the previous issues that have made the development of DUB drugs challenging.

Mission’s DUB platform integrates several proprietary elements including:

  • Insights into DUB target validation
  • DUB-specific screening cascades
  • Unique chemistry and a growing library of small-molecule DUB inhibitors

Mission has developed a novel broad chemistry platform that enables the generation of selective, potent inhibitors of individual DUBs. The application of this DUB platform has resulted in the development of a rich pipeline of DUB inhibitor programs that are progressing towards clinical development, preferentially together with patient selection strategies.

Mission Therapeutics

DUB Platform

Expert insights into DUB target validation

Mission has designed and developed rigorous target identification screening and validation cascades to ensure our efforts are focused on selectively and specifically inhibiting the right DUBs.

We are systematically screening against individual DUBs in areas of unprecedented, novel biology and pathology with significant commercial potential. We use patient selection strategies to enable early proof- of-concept in indications with high unmet medical need.


Screening cascade

Mission has developed a robust screening cascade, designed to eliminate false positives as early as possible and focus on genuine drug candidate hits from the outset. We develop and use bespoke biochemical and cellular assays that are as closely related as possible to physiological conditions. This involves purifying full-length DUBs from mammalian cells to ensure proper folding, post-translational modifications and co-factors, as well as using substrates closely related to the natural DUB substrates, such as incorporating an isopeptide linkage between ubiquitin and, ideally, a peptide derived from the DUB’s cellular target.

A number of orthogonal, confirmatory assays are also used to eliminate false positives at an early stage and our proprietary, cellular target engagement assays are performed as early as possible to confirm specific inhibition of DUBs in cells. The drug discovery cascade is accelerated by iterative design-make-test cycles, driven by our in-house medicinal chemistry team, and guided by molecular modelling and structural biology.

Designed to overcome specificity challenges – proprietary small-molecule DUB inhibitor library

Using a novel approach, our in-house medicinal chemistry team developed a DUB-specific compound library consisting of molecules with exclusive and proprietary chemotypes. All of the compounds are drug-like, contain no toxicophores and fully comply with the ‘rule of 5’ criteria. This proprietary library asset has seeded many of our DUB therapeutic projects. It has a high hit rate, enabling rapid progress in the identification of optimised leads with candidate drug levels of potency, selectivity, pharmacokinetics and in vivo efficacy.

Proprietary chemistry platform;

generates innovative, first-in-class DUB inhibitors

Our core chemistry platform is tuneable, and we have developed novel chemistries for DUB-targeted therapeutics. These modified chemistries are specifically designed to enhance target selectivity and drug potency, enabling generation of specific inhibitors against individual DUBs.

  • Reversible and covalent “war-head” binds to the active enzyme site
  • Remaining part of molecule provides potency and selectivity
  • 15 chemistry patents filed to date

Clinical development and patient selection strategy

Clinical development and patient selection strategies are central to all of Mission’s programs. These are overseen by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr Michael Koslowsk, who is supported and guided by experienced, international clinical advisors.

For our programs, a patient selection and/or biomarker strategy will be incorporated as early as possible to increase the chances of obtaining early proof of clinical signs of activity.

We also collaborate with clinical consulting companies at various stages of the discovery and development process to ensure our programs are aimed at viable markets in areas of unmet clinical need.


Mission is protecting its platform and pipeline with many patent filings covering target validation, proprietary assay development, composition-of-matter and patient selection/biomarker strategies.


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