Medicxi commits $11M to take single-asset metabolic disease newco to clinical POC

Troy A. Pentecost has been appointed to the additional positions of president and interim senior executive officer, effective immediately.

Medicxi is putting up €10 million ($11 million) to support Kymo Therapeutics through to clinical proof of concept. Newly founded Kymo will use Medicxi’s money to further Metabrain Research’s work on inhibitors of kynurenine metabolism (KMO), a mechanism of action the partners think could address metabolic diseases including Type 2 diabetes.

The agreement spins off research France’s Metabrain has conducted on the kynurenine pathway into a startup focused squarely on getting an asset derived from the work to clinical proof of concept. Once Kymo has the data in hand, it plans to seek out partners capable of taking the program on through the clinic and onto the market.

For now, the interest in Kymo is undergirded by earlier-stage research conducted by Metabrain. Recognizing that the upregulation of the kynurenine pathway is implicated in a range of diseases, Metabrain looked into its role in pancreatic dysfunction, leading to the publication of a paper last year in Molecular Basis of Disease. The research has emboldened Metabrain and Medicxi to foresee a role for the kynurenine pathway in the treatment of a broader range of diseases.

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“The kynurenine pathway, mostly known for the role of IDO/TDO in immuno-oncology, is emerging as an important pathway in immune inflammatory diseases,” Medicxi partner Michele Ollier said in a statement. “Metabrain Research’s work has identified and validated KMO as a potential major target in this pathway and the opportunity to develop KMO inhibitors as new therapeutic entities for metabolic diseases and beyond.”

Medicxi, as is its wont, has set Kymo up as a single asset company. The structure and size of the deal are reminiscent of one of the other rare investments Medicxi has discussed in any detail. That earlier deal, by Medicxi’s predecessor Index Ventures, created XO1 and gave it $11 million to advance an anticoagulant into the clinic. Medicxi will be happy if it can repeat the success of XO1, which was bought by Johnson & Johnson's Janssen 21 months after opening its doors.

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