KineMed Inc. entered its third collaboration in a year and fourth overall to use its translational medicine technologies to discover new applications of existing compounds.
Privately held KineMed, of Emeryville, Calif., will apply its pathway-based discovery approach to search for new uses for compounds from Bayer HealthCare AG, of Leverkusen, Germany. KineMed previously entered similar deals with Organon A/S, of Oss, the Netherlands; Forbes Medi-Tech Inc., of Vancouver, British Columbia; and Sosei Co. Ltd., of Tokyo.
Terms and disease areas of the deals have not been disclosed. KineMed, though, acquires at least co-development options on resulting therapeutics, said Brent Vaughan, chief business officer at KineMed. Bayer and KineMed would jointly determine the next steps forward once a disease target is established for a drug candidate.
KineMed refers to that part of its business as indications discovery. The second part of the business involves using its technologies in preclinical and first-in-man studies to take some of the risk out of moving the compounds forward, by showing dose effects and that that they "on mechanism," or acting specifically on the disease-related pathway.
In the latter area, KineMed has 29 programs ongoing with 14 pharmaceutical partners, most of which remain undisclosed. They focus on metabolic disorders, cancers, inflammatory diseases and neurodegeneration.
One collaboration in that program is with Merck & Co. Inc., disclosed in November. KineMed is using its KineMarker technology to measure the modulation of the targeted metabolic pathway in a Merck Phase I study, work started after a successful feasibility study.
"Our goal over the next 12 months is to demonstrate further acceleration of these programs and to report dose-response and efficacy findings in Phase I, key evidence of our ability to de-risk clinical development," KineMed President and CEO David Fineman said.
KineMed's technology is built around the idea that measuring the kinetics of pathways rather than measuring static targets — such as proteins, kinases or receptors - will provide improved predictive power and efficiency in drug discovery and development. KineMarkers, or kinetic biomarkers, are designed to quantify the flow of molecules through the critical pathways responsible for health or disease, the company said.
KineMed was founded in 2000 on technology licensed from the University of California at Berkeley. It has raised about $25 million in three round of financing, mostly from high-net-worth individuals, Fineman said. A convertible notes deal that will bring in $10.5 million is in the works, he said.
The company also intends to become a drug developer, and to that end has a preclinical compound series targeting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Fineman said that program is expected to move into the clinic with a year. "Our overall strategy is moving in that direction," he said.
Vaughan said the recent news on the Merck deal, along with the Bayer and Organon collaborations, "shows we are doing the things we've spent the last five years telling people we were going to do."