PROTACting the kinome with covalent warheads

Drug Discov Today. 2023 Jan;28(1):103417. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2022.103417. Epub 2022 Oct 25.


The dawn of targeted degradation using proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs) against recalcitrant proteins has prompted numerous efforts to develop complementary drugs. Although many of these are specifically directed against undruggable proteins, there is increasing interest in small molecule-based PROTACs that target intracellular pathways, and some have recently entered clinical trials. Concurrently, small molecule-based PROTACs that target protumorigenic pathways in cancer cells, the tumor microenvironment (TME), and angiogenesis have been found to have potent effects that synergize with the action of antibodies. This has led to the augmentation of PROTACs with variable substitution patterns. Several combinations with small molecules targeting undruggable proteins are now under clinical investigation. In this review, we discuss the recent milestones achieved as well as challenges encountered in this area of drug development, as well as our opinion on the best path forward.

Keywords: Covalent inhibitors; E3 ligase; Kinase; PROTACs; Targeted kinase degradation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Proteins* / metabolism
  • Proteolysis


  • Proteins