Pharma News

Chinook Therapeutics nears the finish line in kidney disease

This audio is auto-generated. Please let us know if you have feedback.

Welcome to the Biotech Spotlight, a series featuring companies with breakthrough technologies and strategies. Today, we’re looking at Chinook Therapeutics, a company with a focus on kidney diseases boasting one late-stage candidate and several more in the pipeline.

Eric Dobmeier, CEO, president, Chinook Therapeutics

Eric Dobmeier, CEO, president, Chinook Therapeutics

Permission granted by Chinook


In focus with: Eric Dobmeier, CEO, president, Chinook Therapeutics

Chinook’s vision: The Canadian company — named for a prevailing North American wind — is developing several drugs for kidney diseases using various modalities. Kidney diseases are also the company’s only target, which helps Chinook stand out among its peers, Dobmeier said.

“We’re one of the few companies that really has a focus in this area — most of our competitors have maybe one kidney disease drug, and they’re a rare disease company or an autoimmune disease company, whereas we’re entirely focused in this therapeutic area,” Dobmeier said. “That really has a lot of advantages in terms of building relationships with key opinion leaders, with investigators and patient advocacy groups, and also building the scientific and medical expertise you need to really go deep in this area.”

The strategy: Chinook gained its most advanced drug candidate by in-licensing the program from AbbVie in 2019. Atrasentan, which is currently in phase 3 for IgA nephropathy — otherwise known as Berger’s disease — will see a data readout in the third quarter of this year. There are very few drugs approved for most chronic kidney diseases, and Berger’s disease is no exception, Dobmeier said.

“It’ll be less than four years from when we brought (atrasentan) in to when we have phase 3 data, which in this industry is really quick,” Dobmeier said.

Chinook’s second most advanced platform came to the company through a merger with Aduro Biotech. Currently in a phase 1/2 clinical trial for patients with Berger’s disease, the drug has been well-tolerated and has shown consistent reductions in the appropriate biomarkers.

Chinook also has an in-house candidate for kidney stone disease, otherwise known as hyperoxaluria, as well as a preclinical pipeline for other diseases of the kidney.

Why it matters: Many chronic diseases are currently without treatments, which allows the company to help often underserved patients, Dobmeier said. The goal for the publicly traded Chinook — with the appropriate ticker KDNY — is to become the leading kidney disease company in the world, and Dobmeier said the team is already on that path.

“The way these diseases have been treated hasn’t changed much over the past several decades, which is a big difference from oncology or rare disease or other areas where the treatment paradigms have advanced quite a bit,” Dobmeier said. “If you have chronic kidney disease, you’re often given a blood pressure lowering medication, steroids or other drugs that don’t really work very well and aren’t approved in many cases — our goal is to really change that with therapeutics that can intervene along the way and keep people healthy.”

This interview has been edited for brevity and style.

PHARMAVOICE: How did your in-licensing of atrasentan from AbbVie come about, and what does a company like Chinook bring to the table where a Big Pharma company might have less traction?

ERIC DOBMEIER: Atrasentan is in a class of drugs called endothelin receptor antagonists, and in particular inhibits a target called ETA-1, which is found in a number of different kidney diseases. It was originally developed by AbbVie for cancer, and it was a prostate cancer drug years ago. When we formed Chinook and thought about making our own ETA inhibitor, one of our scientists who is now our chief scientific officer (Andrew King) had worked on this program at AbbVie and said, ‘This is a great molecule and we should go after that.’ AbbVie did a very large trial in over 5,000 patients with diabetic kidney disease — they shelved it, though, and they were done with kidney disease, so we pitched them to take the drug into IgA nephropathy, which is, we think, (an) ideal disease for this mechanism.

“It’s hard to go from (being) a research only company to a commercial company in four to five years, and it’s a heavy lift — but so far, so good.”

Eric Dobmeier

CEO, president, Chinook Therapeutics

In this industry in general, smaller biotechs tend to be able to move more quickly and be more nimble, take more risks, and are very good at coming up with ideas and advancing them to a certain point where the larger companies are often best at marketing drugs. When you get into late-stage clinical development, there tends to be an overlap. We were able to be really creative and move quickly to get this phase 3 going — we know more about this disease than most companies in the world. We’ve been really smart about how we’ve developed this drug.

How will an approval change the face of your company?

Source link
#Chinook #Therapeutics #nears #finish #line #kidney #disease

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *