Key Program Features

  • Small-molecule, host directed compounds
  • Orally bioavailable immuno-therapy
  • Target RIG-I-like receptor (RLR) pathways and intracellular IRF3-inducing pathways
  • May facilitate tumor cell killing and break cancer tolerance


Drug Development Phase: Discovery (Lead Optimization)

Kineta has developed broad spectrum antivirals and vaccine adjuvants that target innate immune pathways. Our proprietary AViiD™ screening platform has identified multiple drug compounds that trigger a critical immune response for viral infections and also have applications in cancer.

The immune-stimulating activities of pattern-recognition receptors (PRR) and their potential for inducing long-term antitumor responses make them attractive targets for cancer immunotherapy.1 Therapeutic effects of nucleic acid RIG-I-like receptor (RLR) pathway agonists have also been demonstrated in preclinical models of melanoma and ovarian cancer and there is strong evidence that RLR activation induces immunogenic cell death in pancreatic cancer.1,2,3 Previous studies have demonstrated proof of concept efficacy in animal models.

Kineta’s scientists have expanded our screening platform to identify novel small-molecule compounds that target RIG-I-like receptor (RLR) pathways and intracellular IRF3-inducing pathways. Kineta's approach is to develop immuno-therapies focused on these drug targets. Kineta’s host directed RIG-I agonists induce key markers of immunogenic cell death (ICD). Furthermore, Kineta’s RIG-I agonists may modify the tumor micro-environment to break tumor tolerance, elicit neo-antigen T-cell responses and may turn the "cold" tumor "hot". They are being developed as small-molecule, orally bioavailable immuno-therapies.

1. Goutagny N, Estornes Y, Hasan U, Lebecque S, Caux C. 2012. Targeting pattern recognition receptors in cancer immunotherapy. Target Oncol 7:29-54.
2. Duewell P, Steger A, Lohr H, Bourhis H, Hoelz H, Kirchleitner SV, Stieg MR, Grassmann S, Kobold S, Siveke JT, Endres S, Schnurr M. 2014. RIG-I-like helicases induce immunogenic cell death of pancreatic cancer cells and sensitize tumors toward killing by CD8(+) T cells. Cell Death Differ 21:1825-1837.
3. Schnurr M, Duewell P. 2014. Induction of immunogenic cell death by targeting RIG-I-like helicases in pancreatic cancer. Oncoimmunology 3:e955687.