KINETA, INC – Addressing the Pain Epidemic – Potential Solutions from Seattle based Kineta.
An Interview with Eric Tarcha PhD, Senior Vice President Translational Development
In previous articles, our readers were introduced to Kineta, Inc. CEO Shawn Iadonato, and Kristin Bedard. In those articles we shared with our readers the success you have had in partnerships with both Pfizer and Genentech, the two largest pharma companies in the world. These two deals are exciting for your investors and, of course, for patients too. Your deals included upfront payments of over $20 million, backend milestones of over $850 million, and double-digit royalties that could produce royalties through the mid 2030’s. Today we would like to take a deeper dive into your work in chronic pain and how Kineta is developing innovative solutions to address new treatment alternatives in pain management and the issue with opioids in America and around the world.
1. Tell us a little bit about your chronic pain program, does your drug take the same approach as opioids?
Kineta has taken a very novel approach to address the need for new, non-opioid based therapeutics to address chronic pain and the opioid epidemic. Our chronic pain drugs have been developed to specifically bind and block the activation of a novel, genetically validated, non-opioid receptor that has been found to be important in the development of chronic pain called the α9α10 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α9α10 nAChR). More importantly, by targeting the α9α10 nAChR our compounds are highly differentiated from drugs that target opioid receptors. Unlike opioids, our drugs act on the peripheral nervous system meaning they do not have to get into the central nervous system (brain and spinal column) to work. Because they act peripherally, in our models our drugs have not had the terrible side effects seen with opioid drugs, primally the loss of motor function, tolerance and addiction. Another key differentiator from opioid drugs is that our lead compound, KCP506, is long acting, meaning it will only have to be administered once or twice a week in people suffering from chronic pain. Because of these key differentiators, we believe KCP506 has the potential to provide real, life changing pain relief for millions of people suffering from chronic pain conditions without the awful side effects seen with opioids.
2. What evidence leads you to feel that the Kineta approach to managing pain will provide relief?
Kineta’s compounds were derived from nature. In fact, the drug itself is a derivative of a toxin found in the venom of a cone snail. Cone snails are predatory marine snails that use their venom to paralyze their prey after ambushing them. This specific toxin in the venom was originally found to provide analgesic activity when it was given to mice. Today we make this product synthetically, we have optimized the compound to make it more stable and long acting and we have tested our lead compound KCP506 in many pain models traditionally used in the pharmaceutical industry. KCP506 has shown to be effective at reducing pain in models of nerve injury (related to sciatica or radiculopathy), chemotherapy induced pain, diabetic induced neuropathic pain, burn pain and many others. Moreover, as I mentioned above, the α9α10 nAChR target has been genetically validated, meaning that animals that lack this receptor have normal pain reception but are resistant to the development of chronic pain. Between the efficacy observed in pain models and the genetic evidence of the target, we have a high degree of confidence KCP506 will provide long lasting pain relief in patients.
Thank you for time Eric, we look forward to learning more about your progress in developing new treatment options for managing pain. Kineta’s work in this field is exciting and we wish you the best of success in 2020.