Metabrain Research, Medicxi Launch UK Firm Kymo Therapeutics

Published: Oct 06, 2016

Metabrain Research, Medicxi Launch UK Firm Kymo Therapeutics October 6, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

CAMBRIDGE, England -- A new company, Kymo Therapeutics Ltd. was launched with the goal to advance France-based Metabrain Research’s type 2 diabetes and inflammatory disease programs that harness kynurenine metabolism inhibitors.

The new company launched with about $11 million in financing from Medicxi, a leading European life sciences venture capital firm. Valerie Autier, chief executive officer of Metabrain and a board member of Kymo Therapeutics, touted the involvement of Medicxi. In a statement this morning, she said the investment from Medicxi was a validation of Metabrain’s “discovery model for early stage innovation.”

“We are very excited about the potential of our programs as we believe they open new perspectives in establishing the links between inflammatory mechanisms and metabolic disorders. It carries the promise of impacting on the pathophysiological process thus bringing new therapies for type 2 diabetes and adjacent diseases” Autier said.

Kymo Therapeutics has a goal to advance Metabrain’s kynurenine metabolism (KMO) inhibitors towards clinical proof of concept. As the project moves forward, the new company will seek partners to complete development and commercialize the product, the company said this morning.

Inhibiting kynurenine metabolism is a promising approach to treat immune-inflammatory-related diseases. The kynurenine pathway leads to the production of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) from the degradation of tryptophan, an essential amino acid. The kynurenine pathway is well balanced under physiological conditions but up-regulated during inflammation, leading to several diseases including diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders, depression and cancer. In addition to exploring KMO inhibitors for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, Metabrain said the kynurenine pathway also plays a key role in pancreatic dysfunction.

“The kynurenine pathway, mostly known for the role of IDO/TDO in immuno-oncology, is emerging as an important pathway in immune inflammatory diseases. Metabrain Research’s work has identified and validated KMO as a potential major target in this pathway and the opportunity to develop KMO inhibitors as new therapeutic entities for metabolic diseases and beyond. Kymo was created as a single asset company, a model that we particularly like to pursue at Medicxi,” Michele Ollier, founding partner at Medicxi, said in a statement.

In addition to funding Kymo Therapeutics, Medicxi has also played a role in helping finance and launch other companies including Denmark’s GenMab, PanGenetics and Swiss-based Molecular Partners.

In its announcement of Kymo Therapeutics, Metabrain did not provide staffing information for the new company. The U.K.’s Endole business information listing site indicates that Kymo has been in operation since May with one active director and one active secretary.

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