Collaborative KPI Therapeutics launches to beef up Kineta's pipeline

In a collaboration that will bring together service providers and CROs, newly launched KPI Therapeutics is aiming to speed the development of new drug candidates for Seattle-based biotech Kineta.

KPI's partners comprise MPI Research, Chimera Biotec, Life Chemicals and Medical Marketing Economics, which will supply expertise alongside funds from private equity investors to expedite the early clinical drug validation process.

The emergence of these types of alternative business models highlights today's tumultuous early research landscape as Big Pharma companies continue to scale back their R&D budgets.

"Despite recent advances in scientific knowledge and reports of promising new medicines from early stage discovery, we have not seen a concurrent surge in innovative therapies for patients reaching the market," said Kineta President and CEO Charles Magness, who is also serving as KPI's board chairman. "KPI is designed to bring the capabilities of world-class drug development players and investors into a collaborative alignment where all patients, partners, and investors can benefit."

KPI said in a statement that its business model is also designed to improve investor outcomes over traditional industry models. In the first stage of the business plan, KPI will focus on the most advanced projects within Kineta's drug pipeline. Beyond that, KPI said it will then seek out and advance novel programs from other industry sources.

Kineta is not new to taking unconventional approaches to raising venture dollars. Its tack is to attract investors that will back investigational programs, advance those programs through preclinical and Phase I and then spin them off to interested companies looking to add promising drug candidates to their pipelines.

Right now, the company's lead clinical-stage program is ShK-186, a compound for autoimmune diseases, like psoriatic arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. An immune-sparing therapeutic, ShK-186 recently completed a Phase 1B trial. Kinetic is planning additional proof of concept trials in psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis this year.

- read the press release