Therapy Areas: Oncology
Synthekine Launches with USD 82m series A Financing to Advance Pipeline of Engineered Cytokine Therapeutics Optimized for Cancer and Autoimmune Diseases
18 September 2020 - - US-based engineered cytokine therapeutics company Synthekine Inc has closed an USD 82m series A financing, the company said.

The financing was co-led by Canaan Partners, Samsara BioCapital and The Column Group, with participation from other undisclosed investors.

Synthekine was founded by K. Christopher Garcia, Ph.D., to leverage discoveries showing that cytokines can be tuned to enhance their therapeutic effects.

Synthekine combines strengths in immunology, structural insights on cytokines and multiple engineering technologies to create optimised therapeutics against new and validated cytokine targets for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune disorders.

Proceeds from this series A financing will be used to advance Synthekine's lead therapeutic programs into clinical studies, expand its discovery pipeline and hone its proprietary cytokine engineering platforms.

The company currently has two lead programs in IND-enabling development: STK-012, an engineered Interleukin-2 partial agonist for the treatment of cancer, and the combination of STK-009 and SYNCAR-001, an orthogonal IL-2 ligand and a CD-19 CAR-T-cell therapy being studied in combination.

Cytokines are small, soluble proteins that are powerful regulators of the immune system and can stimulate a wide range of immune cells, primarily driven by their binding and interaction with cell surface receptors.

Most cytokines are pleiotropic, meaning that a given cytokine can exert a range of responses across multiple cell types.

Pleiotropy has proven to be a significant obstacle in the development of cytokine therapeutics. Existing cytokine therapeutics, such as aldesleukin (Proleukin) and interferons, demonstrate meaningful efficacy in cancer and other diseases but are limited by significant side effects.

Synthekine has licensed several cytokine programs and platforms from Stanford University.

Research conducted in the Garcia lab at Stanford led to insights into the interaction of cytokines and their receptors, allowing researchers to engineer modified cytokines to deliver selective activity to particular cell types of therapeutic interest, giving them the potential for optimised efficacy, a larger therapeutic window and improved safety for patients.

This research has been responsible for determining the three-dimensional structures for many different cytokine/receptor complexes, including IL-1, IL-2, IL-4, IL-6, IL-13, IL-15, IL-17, IL-23 and the three different classes of interferons.

Synthekine is an engineered cytokine therapeutics company developing disease-optimised treatments. The company uses immunological insights to guide targeted protein engineering to generate transformative medicines for cancer and autoimmune disorders.

Using the principles of cytokine partial agonism and immunological specificity, Synthekine designs differentiated therapeutics to be both safe and efficacious.