News Release

Q&A of Cullgen and Astellas’ Collaboration Agreement

(Announcement date 15 June 2023)

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This English summary translation is for convenience only. To the extent there is any discrepancy between this English translation and the original Japanese version, please refer to the Japanese version.



Targeted Protein Degradation: TPD

Tropomyosin Receptor Kinase: TRK

Ubiquitin Mediated Small Molecule-Induced Target Elimination: uSMITE™

Investigational New Drug: IND


Q1: What is a protein degrader?

A1: A Protein degrader is a Heterobifunctional small molecule which harnesses the intrinsic ubiquitin-proteasome system to degrade disease-causing proteins. This can be a new type of precision medicine that is used to target and degrade “undruggable” proteins, thus providing new treatment options for patients.


Q2: Can you provide more information about Cullgen and its proprietary targeted protein degradation technology platform?

A2: A Cullgen is a San Diego, USA based privately-held US biotechnology company focusing on the development of small molecule therapeutics using its proprietary targeted protein degradation (TPD) technology, referred to as uSMITE™ (ubiquitin-mediated small molecule-induced target elimination). Cullgen’s TPD technology can be applied to create protein degraders (including both heterobifunctional and molecular glues) for a broad range of intracellular disease targets, including oncology, inflammation, CNS, and other diseases that cannot be addressed by existing therapies, commonly referred to as “undruggable” targets.

Cullgen has a number of preclinical molecules in development, primarily for oncology applications.  Cullgen’s most advanced program is a TRK degrader for cancer which recently had an IND allowed.

In addition to Cullgen’s internal pipeline of TPD programs, Cullgen is also discovering and developing novel E3 ligands that can be used to enhance the overall robustness and effectiveness of TPD therapeutics.  Cullgen believes that the development of novel E3 ligands will be one of the key long-term success factors for TPDs.  Through the use of such novel E3 ligands, Cullgen will be able to design protein degraders that are capable of recruiting and binding to one of the hundreds of existing E3 ligases that have never been utilized for TPD therapeutics.  Designing a protein degrader that has the capability to bind to non-common E3 ligases offers the potential to provide a therapeutic solution with increased efficacy, reduced toxicity, enhanced tissue selectivity and the ability to overcome drug resistance.

More information about Cullgen and their game-changing technology can be obtained by visiting Cullgen’s website:


Q3: What are the differences and advantages between Cullgen’s platform and other TPD technologies?

A3: One of the key differentiating factors between Cullgen and other TPD companies is that Cullgen has discovered multiple novel E3 ligands and has demonstrated that such novel E3 ligands lead to the creation of functional TPDs.  In fact, Cullgen is regarded as a world-wide leader for the development of novel E3 ligands for the use in TPDs and has incorporated such novel E3 ligands in several of its internal TPD programs.

In addition, Cullgen’s scientific founders, Drs. Yue Xiong and Jian Jin are technical pioneers in the field of targeted protein degradation, having combined experience of over 40 years in this field with respect to the ubiquitin-proteasome system and targeted protein degradation.