Oncology and inflammation
The Alnitak project has two interesting applications (Alnitak 1 and 2). The goal is to develop drug candidates that bind to a target protein that is essential for both malignant disease development and for inflammatory conditions. A successful project can therefore help to develop new medications to treat orphan drug indications in the field of autoinflammatory diseases, as well as new combination therapies within the field of oncology, primarily intestinal cancer.
The Alnitak program is aimed at discovering and developing small molecule inhibitors of TAK1 (MAP3K7). TAK1 is a kinase that has been shown to act as a master regulator of inflammatory signaling. Recent scientific publications have also shown that TAK1 functions as a central mediator of NLRP3 signaling in human cells. NLRP3 is the most studied inflammasome and dysregulated NLRP3 activation is involved in harmful inflammation and linked to many diseases. Aqilion believes that new research and knowledge regarding human immunology and availability of novel models, re-evaluates and positions TAK1 as an ideal drug target for inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. In addition, TAK1 plays an important role in KRAS mutated cancers.
Aqilion’s team has identified highly potent inhibitors through combining literature data and advanced structure-based design. This has resulted in a unique set of structurally diverse molecules with great drug-like properties. Public domain and internal data suggest that these are the most potent TAK1 inhibitors known.
The Alnitak in-house project was launched in December 2019.