Kronos Bio, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel cancer therapeutics designed to transform patient outcomes by targeting dysregulated transcription, today announced that it has entered into an asset purchase agreement with Gilead Sciences, Inc. to acquire Gilead's spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) inhibitor portfolio. The portfolio includes the clinical stage compounds entospletinib, which has been evaluated in Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials in oncology patients, and lanraplenib, which has been evaluated in Phase 2 clinical trials in patients with autoimmune diseases.
"Kronos is uniquely positioned to advance these differentiated and selective SYK inhibitors by leveraging our expertise in oncology and transcriptional regulatory networks," said Norbert Bischofberger, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Kronos. "We believe the acquisition of these compounds not only propels us more quickly into clinical development but also brings us closer to our goal of transforming patient outcomes."
Kronos intends to initially focus on developing the SYK inhibitor program in a biomarker-defined subset of patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). SYK is a critical node in AML overexpressing the HOXA9 and MEIS1 transcription factors. HOXA9 and MEIS1 become dysregulated as a result of recurring mutations found in up to one half of AML patients.
"Despite recent advancements in AML, there remains a substantial need for targeted therapies that can extend life," said John Byrd, M.D., D. Warren Brown Chair of Leukemia Research, and Distinguished University Professor of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center and Chief Medical Officer of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Beat AML Trial. "SYK inhibition has demonstrated promising activity in clinical trials of AML patients who have high HOXA9/MEIS1 expression and is an optimal target for further clinical research to understand how HOXA9/MEIS1 dysregulation drives AML in these patients. The Beat AML Trial directed by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has partnered closely with Gilead and looks forward to continued close collaboration with Kronos Bio."
Entospletinib has produced promising early clinical data in a biomarker-defined subset of AML patients (Liu, et al. EHA poster abstract PF246, 2018). Entospletinib has been investigated in over 500 patients across six Gilead sponsored studies in a variety of hematologic malignancies, including AML, demonstrating activity as a single-agent and in combination with standard-of-care.
Lanraplenib has been investigated in over 250 patients across seven Gilead sponsored studies in various autoimmune diseases. Its pharmaceutical properties may make it a commercially attractive next generation product candidate.
Under the terms of the agreement, Gilead will receive an upfront cash payment and a note convertible into Kronos equity, and will be eligible to receive regulatory and commercial milestones and royalties on future sales of products arising from the acquired programs.
About Kronos Bio
Kronos Bio, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery and development of novel cancer therapeutics designed to transform patient outcomes by targeting dysregulated transcription.
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