Kineta Receives Wellcome Trust Award to Advance Novel Therapeutic for Lassa Fever into Clinical Trials
Seattle, WA May 5, 2016 – Kineta, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the translational development of novel immune modulating and antiviral drugs announced today that the company will receive a Wellcome Trust Translation Fund Award of up to $7.2M. This award will advance the development of a novel antiviral therapy to treat Lassa haemorrhagic fever.
The funded collaboration will enable manufacturing, preclinical development, regulatory filings and first in human clinical studies for the antiviral lead LHF-535. Preclinical milestones include characterizing the efficacy of LHF-535 against Lassa fever in animal models and completing IND-enabling toxicology studies. The goal of the collaboration is to complete Phase 1a and Phase 1b safety studies in human subjects and position LHF-535 for Phase 2 evaluation in Lassa fever patients where no approved treatment is currently available.
“We are excited to collaborate with the Wellcome Trust on our Lassa fever program. They are a global leader in supporting research and improving health in infectious diseases, and we are honored to join the community of Wellcome Trust researchers”, said Kineta’s CEO, Shawn Iadonato. “This Translation Fund Award positions us to complete the Phase I program for LHF-535 and prepare for studies to evaluate the efficacy of this novel medicine to treat Lassa fever, a viral disease with no approved treatment options,” Dr. Iadonato added.
LHF-535 is a small molecule antiviral with potent activity against Lassa and other arenaviruses. It inhibits virus entry into target host cells and serves to suppress viral replication. LHF-535 is an optimized lead compound with good oral bioavailability and pharmacokinetics, supporting once-daily administration. It has demonstrated safety and efficacy in preclinical models, including reduced virus titers and enhanced survival in animal models of arenavirus pathogenesis. A clear development path for LHF-535 was established after a successful pre-IND interaction with FDA in mid-2015.
About Lassa Fever
Lassa fever is an acute viral illness that is known to be endemic in Benin, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and parts of Nigeria, but probably exists in other West African countries as well.1 Lassa fever causes 100,000-300,000 infections and is responsible for ~5000 deaths annually in West Africa. Death rates are particularly high for women in the third trimester of pregnancy, and fetal loss occurs in nearly all infected pregnant women.2 The Lassa virus is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or feces. Person-to-person transmission also occurs, particularly in hospitals lacking adequate infection control measures.1
1. WHO Lassa Fever Fact Sheet http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs179/en/
2. CDC Lassa Fever Fact Sheet http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/lassa/pdf/factsheet.pdf
Kineta, Inc. is an emerging and sustainable biotech company that fills a void in the biopharmaceutical industry by efficiently advancing therapies from discovery to clinical proof of concept. We actively collaborate with a broad array of private, government and industry partners to advance our innovative research in autoimmune diseases, antivirals and chronic pain. Kineta has established and is expanding on a diverse pipeline of novel life improving therapies that address critical unmet patient needs. For more information on Kineta, Inc. visit our website, www.kinetabio.com
The Wellcome Trust is a global charitable foundation dedicated to improving health. We support bright minds in science, the humanities and the social sciences, as well as education, public engagement and the application of research to medicine. Our investment portfolio gives us the independence to support such transformative work as the sequencing and understanding of the human genome, research that established front-line drugs for malaria, and Wellcome Collection, our free venue for the incurably curious that explores medicine, life and art.
NOTICE: This document contains certain forward-looking statements, including without limitation statements regarding Kineta’s plans for pre-clinical and clinical studies, regulatory filings, and anticipated drug effects in human subjects. You are cautioned that such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties inherent in Kineta’s business which could significantly affect expected results, including without limitation progress of drug development, ability to raise capital to fund drug development, clinical testing and regulatory approval, developments in raw material and personnel costs, and legislative, fiscal, and other regulatory measures. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement, and Kineta undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the issuance of this press release.