A critical need
Great strides have been made in understanding the genetic drivers of cancer in recent decades, but too many patients still lack effective treatment. Existing drugs target just some of the oncogenes responsible for tumor growth. Most available therapies do not address other mutations that fuel cancer by inactivating suppressor genes or by helping malignant cells evade killing by the immune system.
The next wave of targeted therapies
The first wave of targeted therapies revolutionized cancer care for patients with specific genetic mutations. These drugs target oncogenes such as BRAF, EGFR and ERBB2, which were identified through genetic sequencing. Scientists have discovered many additional mutations that drive tumor growth – but so far, there are no therapies addressing them. Tango was founded in 2017 to address this broad unmet need by delivering the next wave of targeted therapies. We are using functional genomic screening to identify synthetic lethal targets for a wide array of mutations.
Powering our platform: Synthetic lethality
We are applying our approach in three core areas:
Tumor suppressor gene loss
Most cancers are fueled by genetic changes that disable the protective genes meant to suppress tumor growth. The loss of those genes allows the cancer to grow – but it also makes the malignant cells vulnerable to targeted therapies based on the principles of synthetic lethality. Our integrated discovery platform uncovers the vulnerabilities that arise from the loss of a tumor suppressor gene in specific cancer types. We then leverage these insights to develop novel drugs that destroy cancer cells, but spare normal cells.
A normal immune system should recognize cancer cells as foreign and destroy them. However, we are starting to understand that cancer cells have genetic changes that allow them to evade the immune system and thrive. At Tango, we will expand the reach and effectiveness of immunotherapies by developing drugs that counteract the immune evasion genes in cancers. This approach opens a target space with powerful potential in defined genetic subsets of cancer. The drugs we are developing will complement existing immune cell targeting approaches.
Most targeted therapies available to patients today are active against a mutated gene (such as amplified HER2 or mutated BRAF). These therapies can shrink tumors, but typically do not cure patients. At Tango, we are identifying new targets and combinations by applying the principles of synthetic lethality to search for oncogenes that are not marked by genetic changes but that fuel cancer in specific cancer subtypes. The drugs we develop may have single agent activity in specific contexts or add to the efficacy of other drugs in combination.
Patients drive our process
We have an efficient discovery and development process that leverages high-throughput CRISPR screening to identify vulnerabilities in cancer cells. We focus on diseases with high unmet need where patients share a common genetic context. We are committed to developing precise, powerful and safe therapies for the people who need them most. Explore our approach: