CROs unite to kick-start a biotech's pipeline

Four pharma service providers, led by MPI Research, have joined forces to form KPI Therapeutics, a new biotech designed to develop promising drug candidates and speed their way to market.

KPI's membership covers the bases of drug development: German CRO Chimera Biotec is on hand for assay development; Canada's Life Chemicals will provide small-molecule chemistry services; MPI brings its bioanalytical expertise; Medical Marketing Economics specializes in market access and pricing; and, perhaps most important in the short term, biotech Kineta has the proprietary pipeline of therapies driving the collaboration.

To start, KPI will focus on Kineta's most advanced drugs, led by ShK-186, a Phase II-ready autoimmune treatment with potential in rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and asthma, the biotech said. From there, KPI plans to identify and in-license external candidates.

The conglomerate has secured some undisclosed private equity funding to get started, and KPI is betting its model of flipping assets for cash will generate some early returns and attract future investments.

"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," Kineta CEO and KPI Chairman Charles Magness said in a statement. "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."

For the Michigan-headquartered MPI, the collaborative venture follows a similar effort last year, in which the CRO teamed up with contemporaries inviCRO and 3D Imaging to open a 10,000-square-foot imaging center.

- read the statement
- here's FierceBiotech's take

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