Protac, an experimental treatment, uses the body's own protein disposal system.

XVIVO, in collaboration with Wyant Simboli and their client, Arvinas Inc., helped communicate the unconventional mechanism of action for a new class of drugs that engage the body’s own protein disposal system to target cancers and other difficult-to-treat diseases.


Arvinas’ approach is to tag a protein implicated in a disease with their proprietary Proteolysis-Targeting Chimera, or PROTAC. PROTACs are small molecules that can be tailored to tag particular proteins. The PROTAC also binds to a naturally-occurring protein in the ubiquitin pathway, which ultimately results in the disease protein being degraded by the body’s natural disposal system, the proteasome. One PROTAC molecule can continue to act and tag multiple disease proteins for degradation.

A detailed diagram shows the mechanism of action of PROTAC inside a cell

Wyant Simboli initially asked XVIVO to create an illustration to showcase the multiple steps in the body’s pathway for protein degradation and the tunable structure of the PROTAC molecule. Following the success of that project, Wyant Simboli and Arvinas wanted XVIVO to expand the concepts in the illustration to a 3D animation to more fully explain the science. The XVIVO team carefully researched the structure and interaction of the multiple molecules involved in the system. The resulting animation gave Arvinas a crucial tool to accurately and succinctly illustrate the PROTAC mechanism of action.