Founded in 2021, XinThera is aiming to develop small molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer and immunologic diseases


XinThera acquired by Gilead Sciences. (Credit: Suiren2022/Wikimedia Commons)

Gilead Sciences has acquired XinThera, a California-based privately held biotech company, for an undisclosed price, in a move to strengthen its early pipeline in oncology and inflammation.

Established in 2021, XinThera is aiming to develop small molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer and immunologic diseases. The biotech startup is backed by a group of global investors such as Foresite Capital, TTM Capital, and OrbiMed Advisors.

XinThera CEO Chris LeMasters said: “Gilead and XinThera share similar missions to discover new therapies to treat cancer and inflammatory diseases, which drive our determination to unlock the body’s ability to better respond to these diseases.

“We are eager to join Gilead and together explore the potential of our precision medicines as critical components of the next generation of therapies targeting diseases with high unmet need.”

The latest acquisition gives additional pipeline assets to Gilead Sciences for well-validated targets in the areas of oncology and inflammation. These include rights to a portfolio of small molecule inhibitors that target PARP1 for oncology and MK2 for inflammatory diseases.

The assets are likely to enter into clinical development later this year.

According to Gilead Sciences, the two programmes can potentially address various indications. Besides, they provide scope for broad development alone and in combination with its own portfolio, said Gilead Sciences.

The pharma major said that first-generation, dual PARP1/2 inhibitors have delivered high efficacy in the treatment of patients having homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) tumours with BRCA-mutations such as breast, prostate, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers. However, their use is limited because of haematological toxicities, said the company.

Gilead Sciences stated that PARP1 selective inhibitors can possibly alleviate the haematological toxicities seen in first-generation, dual PARP1/2 inhibitors. Besides, they can facilitate combination with a range of DNA-damaging agents, including targeted agents like Trodelvy (sacituzumab govitecan-hziy) and systemic chemotherapy, said the company.

Gilead Sciences research executive vice president Flavius Martin said: “The team at XinThera has developed research assets with the potential to target the DNA damage repair pathway in treating cancer and direct the body’s immune response in inflammatory diseases, both of which may improve outcomes for people living with these diseases.

“Guided by our scientific framework, this acquisition will allow us to further expand our early pipeline of diverse assets that will continue to fuel our durable late-phase portfolio.”