Kinnate Biopharma Inc. was founded with the goal of expanding on the promise of targeted therapies to inspire hope among cancer patients, physicians, and caregivers. The company aims to develop and provide treatments that address the unmet needs of those battling cancer. The company focuses on precision oncology and aims to develop targeted therapies for cancer patients.
Kinnate is working on creating drugs for specific oncogenic drivers that currently have no approved treatments or overcoming the limitations of existing cancer therapies. It has ongoing clinical trials for two leading programs targeting solid tumors with specific genetic alterations, and is also rapidly developing additional drug candidates using their discovery engine. The company is motivated by the pressing need to provide effective cancer medicines for patients who are waiting.
Deep Expertise and Understanding of Oncogenic Drivers
Kinnate employs a systematic and consistent approach to identify kinases that drive genomically defined diseases, with kinase inhibition being a proven approach to fighting cancer for almost two decades. The company focuses on developing kinase inhibitor product candidates for three patient populations, which includes those with cancers that harbor known oncogenic drivers with no available targeted therapies, those with tumors that have intrinsic resistance to currently available treatments and those whose tumors have acquired resistance over the course of therapy to currently available treatments.
Kinnate believes that by focusing on these three patient populations, it will have a more efficient development path with a greater likelihood of success. The company has developed a deep expertise and understanding of specific oncogenic drivers due to advancements in genomic profiling and collaborations with precision medicine cancer centers and leading research institutions.
A Decade of Experience in Clinical Strategy and Drug Development
Richard Williams is the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Kinnate Biopharma Inc. He brings with him more than ten years of experience in global clinical strategy and drug development in the biopharmaceutical industry. Before joining Kinnate, he served as the Chief Medical Officer and Global Head of Oncology Programs at WuXi NextCODE, where he led the clinical development of large-scale genomics and target biomarker discovery programs.
Richard also worked as the Group Medical Director and Program Lead of the Circulating Cell-Free Genome Atlas (CCGA) at cancer detection company GRAIL, which was the largest-ever prospective study of circulating nucleic acids in cancer. As the Head of Early Development Oncology Group and Early Development Leader at Amgen, he was responsible for guiding the development of early clinical oncology assets. Richard also led the Phase 2 and Phase 3 trials for Nerlynx® (neratinib), a targeted cancer therapeutic, as Senior Medical Director at Puma Biotechnology, focusing on metastatic breast cancer and lung cancer.
Before joining the industry, Richard was a clinical hematology and oncology fellow and an NIH-funded faculty member at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, where he conducted translational biology and therapeutics studies within the molecular oncology and hematological malignancies programs. He has co-authored 60 publications in high-impact clinical, translational, and basic research journals, including NEJM, Nature, and Cancer Cell, and has two patents as a coinventor. He holds an MBBS and PhD as well as a BMedSc from the University of Queensland, Australia.
Identifying Unaddressed Requirements
Kinnate’s Discovery Engine begins by identifying unaddressed requirements among verified oncogenic drivers. The company employs its extensive knowledge of medicinal chemistry to create potential solutions. Additionally, the process is highly scalable due to its tailored ecosystem of partners. The company’s two primary drug candidates, KIN-2787 and KIN-3248, are intended to treat cancers driven by BRAF Class II/Class III and NRAS alterations, as well as cancers with FGFR2 and FGFR3 alterations, respectively.
Resistance to Therapy Posing Challenges
Despite the progress made in precision medicine for cancer, there is still a significant unmet need for most cancer patients as either no approved targeted treatments exist, or resistance to targeted therapies has developed. According to statistics, only a small percentage (2% to 3%) of people with advanced or metastatic cancer achieve lasting responses with current targeted therapies.
Furthermore, only a fraction (10%) of patients with advanced cancer can benefit from available targeted therapies, which match a defined genomic driver with an approved targeted therapy. Of these patients, only about half (the responders) experience positive results, while the remaining half (non-responders) experience no clinical benefits due to intrinsic resistance.
Among the responders, the majority (conservatively estimated at 50% to 80%) eventually develop acquired resistance, lose the benefits of the therapy, and experience disease progression despite continued use of targeted therapy.
Aiming to Develop Therapies with Better Outcomes
Kinnate is developing its compounds as potential single-agent treatments or in combination with other anti-cancer drugs based on a specific biomarker. The company consistently applies its translational research capabilities to inform its development strategy, including understanding the responsive subsets and resistance mechanisms of its compounds.
Kinnate aims to broaden its reach to help as many patients as possible, including expanding its global footprint with an initial focus on China and other countries. With two clinical-stage programs, the company believes that its approach could potentially result in the development of new targeted therapies that offer better outcomes for people with cancer.