Talus Bio aims to revolutionize drug development for gene regulators by enabling the ability to study gene regulatory proteins (GRPs) in a living cell environment. The company’s initial focus is on small-molecule drug development in oncology.
Founded in 2020 as a spin out of the University of Washington and Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences, the company’s platform measures a drug’s ability to disrupt a gene regulator within its natural, non-engineered cellular environment. After treating the cell with a potential drug, Talus uses its platform to remove everything in the cell that isn’t stuck to the DNA. That leaves behind a collection of potential drug targets for analysis. Using mass spectrometry combined with data analytics and machine learning the potential targets can be identified.
A single experiment using the platform measures activity for about 1,000 gene regulators simultaneously, providing information on in-cell drug activity and specificity in a single experiment.
The company is developing internal programs against previously undruggable gene regulators in cancers as well as partnering with pharma, biotech, and academic labs to help progress their pipeline of gene regulator drugs. Talus’s approach has many potential uses beyond oncology as well, including aging.