Alliance for Children’s Therapeutics to Expand Pediatric Research to Multiple Sclerosis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease and Asthma

Encouraging early results in lupus nephritis research using ShK-186


The Alliance for Children’s Therapeutics (ACT) today announced it will expand its pediatric research into multiple sclerosis (MS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), and asthma. ACT initially launched in June by Seattle Children’s Research Institute and biotechnology company Kineta as a first-of-its-kind pediatric research and funding collaboration designed to speed development of new medications for children and teens with autoimmune diseases. The announcement was made today at the Partnering for Cures Conference in New York City.

The addition of MS, IBD and asthma brings ACT’s pediatric autoimmunity research areas to four - research began in June focused on pediatric lupus nephritis, a potentially fatal form of lupus that occurs when the disease affects the kidneys.

ACT aims to develop therapies specifically for children and teens starting with Kineta’s drug candidate ShK-186, which is derived from a sea anemone protein. Its early ShK-186 pre-clinical research using cells of pediatric patients with lupus nephritis have shown encouraging results. It is targeting 2015 to begin its first clinical trial with patients affected by lupus nephritis. This early pre-clinical research was presented today at the American College of Rheumatology 2014 Annual Meeting in Boston. Link to poster.

“The pressing need to overcome the barriers to advance pediatric studies especially in autoimmune disease, and some early but promising lupus lab work with ShK-186 has attracted significant interest from the research community, and has led to this expansion,” said Charles Magness, CEO of Kineta. “Our goal is to move these programs into clinical settings next year.”

There are currently no U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications for pediatric lupus nephritis or MS. The shortage of appropriate drug formulations for pediatric use may expose young patients to medications that were not designed for their growing bodies. ACT intends to change this by using ShK-186 to develop a potentially safer and effective treatment for children and teens with lupus nephritis and MS. ACT also expects its work could lead to another treatment option for IBD and asthma.

“The pediatric autoimmunity research program at Seattle Children’s Research Institute is focused on defining the genetic causes of pediatric autoimmune diseases, and creating better treatments for children and teens afflicted with these conditions,” said David Rawlings, MD, director of the Center for Immunity and Immunotherapies at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. “Our collaboration with Kineta is giving us access to a new set of tools that is imperative in our quest to make progress in both areas. Even though ACT is initially focusing on a few autoimmune diseases, we expect our work will contribute to a broader understanding of the underlying mechanisms of autoimmune disorders and how to best treat them.”

Funding is needed to propel this pediatric research forward

ACT will rely on a unique and collaborative funding model that combines philanthropic gifts made to Seattle Children’s Research Institute with equity investments made to Kineta.

“There is no federal funding available to support development of ShK-186 into a viable treatment for children and teens with autoimmune diseases,” added Rawlings, who is also chief of the Division of Immunology at Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Developing this treatment requires more than our expert researchers and clinicians. It requires supporters who share our vision of helping children with autoimmune diseases lead happier, healthier lives.”

In 2013, the FDA in total approved 27 new drugs; just seven new drugs were approved for pediatric use that same year. And of the 55,000 clinical trials conducted between 2005 and 2010, only nine percent were designed for children.

Disease Specific Information:

  • Lupus affects 10,000 children in the U.S. Lupus nephritis is a serious complication of lupus involving kidney function, and up to 80 percent of children with lupus will develop lupus nephritis. While medications available today for lupus nephritis reduce the disease’s resulting inflammation, they also suppress the immune system, a side effect that is particularly concerning in children and teens.
  • Between 8,000-10,000 children in the U.S. have MS and the disease causes higher morbidity in children than adults.
  • IBD affects about 50,000 pediatric patients in the U.S.
  • Asthma in one of the most common chronic disorders of childhood currently affecting about 6.8 million children.

About Kineta

Kineta, Inc. is a Seattle-based privately held Biotechnology Company specializing in clinical advancement of novel drug candidates derived from leading edge scientific research. Our world-class scientists are pioneers in developing life-changing classes of new drugs designed to be more effective and safer than current medicines. Kineta seeks to improve the lives of millions of people suffering from autoimmune and viral diseases and from severe pain. Our progressive business model focuses on targeting unmet medical needs and rapid achievement of important clinical milestones. For more information on Kineta, Inc. visit our website, www.Kinetabio.com

About Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention and bioethics, among others. As part of Seattle Children’s Hospital, the research institute brings together leading minds in pediatric research to provide patients with the best care possible. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, which consistently ranks as one of the best pediatric departments in the country. For more information, visit http://www.seattlechildrens.org/research.