Encouraged by Early Work on Anti-Cancer Drug, Intellikine Hires New Head for Clinical Trials

7/18/11Follow @bvbigelow

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molecule drugs targeting two of the PI3K enzymes (PI3Kdelta and PI3Kgamma), a deal that eventually could generate close to $490 million for Intellikine. The company retained all rights to its programs focused on the other two P13K enzymes (PI3Kalpha and PI3Kbeta) and their related target, TORC1/2.

Yet Wilson says one reason why he likes INK128 so much is because it represents an important target in the PI3K/mTOR signaling pathway that appears to be broadly involved in a number of different cancers, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, and multiple myeloma. In addition, INK128, the company’s most advanced drug candidate, is expected to be an ideal ingredient in combination with other anti-cancer drugs.

“It’s pretty clear that cancer treatment is headed in the same direction as HIV drugs, which comprise cocktails of drugs that work in different ways,” Wilson says. “Our focus has been to develop potent and selective drug candidates that can be combined with other drugs. We’ve now done that, and we are excited to soon have three different programs targeting various points on the PI3K/mTOR pathway in human clinical trials.”

After conducting early stage testing to evaluate the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of INK128 in patients with advanced solid tumors, Wilson says Intellikine is planning to move to mid-stage trials early next year. The shift also prompted the company to hire Greg Berk, who joined Intellikine last week as chief medical officer. He was previously at Celgene, where he was senior vice president of global clinical development.

“You need to have someone on board who has clinical credentials,” Wilson says. “Greg’s been on board about 24 hours already, and he’s coming in at almost a perfect time for where we’re going.”

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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