A selective and orally bioavailable VHL-recruiting PROTAC achieves SMARCA2 degradation in vivo

Christiane Kofink, Nicole Trainor, Barbara Mair, Simon Wöhrle, Melanie Wurm, Nikolai Mischerikow, Michael J. Roy, Gerd Bader, Peter Greb, Géraldine Garavel, Emelyne Diers, Ross McLennan, Claire Whitworth, Vesna Vetma, Klaus Rumpel, Maximilian Scharnweber, Julian E. Fuchs, Thomas Gerstberger, Yunhai Cui, Gabriela GremelPaolo Chetta, Stefan Hopf, Nicole Budano, Joerg Rinnenthal, Gerhard Gmaschitz, Moriz Mayer, Manfred Koegl, Alessio Ciulli, Harald Weinstabl (Lead / Corresponding author), William Farnaby (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)
71 Downloads (Pure)


Targeted protein degradation offers an alternative modality to classical inhibition and holds the promise of addressing previously undruggable targets to provide novel therapeutic options for patients. Heterobifunctional molecules co-recruit a target protein and an E3 ligase, resulting in ubiquitylation and proteosome-dependent degradation of the target. In the clinic, the oral route of administration is the option of choice but has only been achieved so far by CRBN- recruiting bifunctional degrader molecules. We aimed to achieve orally bioavailable molecules that selectively degrade the BAF Chromatin Remodelling complex ATPase SMARCA2 over its closely related paralogue SMARCA4, to allow in vivo evaluation of the synthetic lethality concept of SMARCA2 dependency in SMARCA4-deficient cancers. Here we outline structure- and property-guided approaches that led to orally bioavailable VHL-recruiting degraders. Our tool compound, ACBI2, shows selective degradation of SMARCA2 over SMARCA4 in ex vivo human whole blood assays and in vivo efficacy in SMARCA4-deficient cancer models. This study demonstrates the feasibility for broadening the E3 ligase and physicochemical space that can be utilised for achieving oral efficacy with bifunctional molecules.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5969
Number of pages15
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 10 Oct 2022


  • Adenosine Triphosphatases/genetics
  • DNA Helicases/genetics
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins/genetics
  • Proteolysis
  • Transcription Factors/genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases/genetics
  • Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein/genetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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