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A Decade of Arvinas

Turning a Crazy Idea into Game-Changing Technology

Andy Crew, Ph.D, Former Head of Chemistry and Chief Technology Officer

As Arvinas’ first employee, former Head of Chemistry and Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Andy Crew played a pivotal role in our founding and development, embodying our company’s spirit of risk-taking, innovation, and collaborative problem-solving. 

Andy first heard about the PROTAC® technology from Craig Crews in mid-2013 and was struck by how different it was from anything else in the drug discovery field. While most biotech and pharma companies focused on making small molecules as inhibitors or agonists of proteins, the PROTAC® technology offered a unique and profound approach by specifically directing the degradation of pathogenic proteins. Prior to Arvinas, Andy had been part of projects where protein levels would mysteriously go down, and wrote this off as cytotoxicity or poor experimentation, but when Craig explained that such a phenomenon could be explained by unintentional protein degradation, it was a revelation. Andy realized the potential of such a game-changing technology and jumped at the opportunity to be part of something truly innovative. 

In his role as Head of Chemistry, Andy says he was free to break the rules and pursue innovative approaches in the quest to understand this new technology, and to discover the first drug-like PROTAC® protein degraders, something most didn’t think was possible. This included hiring some of the brightest minds in medicinal chemistry and formulation, and picking the brains of a world expert in drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK). His proudest moment was when his team broke through the barrier of oral bioavailability, a key enabling milestone in developing small molecule PROTAC® degraders.  

Throughout his time at Arvinas, Andy was impressed by his colleagues’ passion and believed their commitment to making an impact propelled the work forward. “Working at Arvinas was a chance to do something completely different and new,” he said. “It was a crazy idea that many thought would never work, but we proved them wrong. We had amazing scientific and leadership teams and knew that failure was not an option. We had to succeed.” 

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