NEW YORK – A new precision oncology firm, called Kirilys Therapeutics, launched on Wednesday having garnered an undisclosed amount of seed financing.
The preclinical-stage San Francisco-headquartered drugmaker is founded by investment company Catalys Pacific. The seed financing was led by Lightspeed Venture Partners and will help Kirilys conduct investigational new drug-enabling studies of its lead agent KRLS-017 and plan a Phase I clinical trial in transcriptionally driven cancers.
Kirilys licensed KRLS-017 from Japanese chemical manufacturer Ube Industries. The oral drug inhibits CDK7, a protein involved in driving transcriptional addiction and cell cycle dysregulation in tumors, and has demonstrated an attractive safety and efficacy profile in preclinical studies. Kirilys said in a statement that it has also inked a collaboration with D2G Oncology, which can help identify links between cancer genotypes and drug efficacy in animal tumor models.
"Selective inhibition of CDK7 offers a compelling opportunity to bring new therapeutic options to patients suffering from difficult-to-treat transcriptionally-driven cancers," Galym Imanbayev, partner at Lightspeed Venture Partners, said in a statement. "We are excited to back this unique combination of accomplished team, quality of asset, and a proprietary clinical strategy enabled by D2G Oncology."
Imanbayev will be on the newly launched company's board of directors, alongside BT Slingsby, founder and executive chairman of Kirilys and managing partner at Catalys Pacific; Takeshi Takahashi, managing partner at Catalys; and Kapil Dhingra, former head of Roche Oncology and cofounder of Kirilys.