Rila Therapeutics exits stealth mode to address renal fibrosis

October 28, 2022 - 3 minutes
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Rila Therapeutics, a biotherapeutics company focused on addressing the critical unmet medical needs to treat renal fibrosis, has emerged from stealth mode. 

Rila Therapeutics has identified a promising, first-in-class allosteric small molecule targeting HIPK2 to inhibit kidney fibrosis. The breakthrough discovery aiming to advance the treatment of renal disease was developed in collaboration with Mount Sinai Innovation Partners and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (Icahn Mount Sinai), New York, N.Y. 

Rila Therapeutics was founded by John He, chief of nephrology at Icahn Mount Sinai and key opinion leader at one of the largest medical centers in the U.S., and ShangPharma Innovation.

He, in addition to his position at Icahn Mount Sinai, is a professor of medicine and pharmacological sciences whose academic work has shed light on multiple features of kidney disease pathogenesis, leading to the elucidation of complex signaling networks in kidney cells by using systems biology approach and transgenic mouse models, and revealing the novel mechanisms of kidney fibrosis. 

“Currently, there are about 750,000 patients in the U.S. suffering from renal fibrosis with no cure as there are no approved antifibrotic treatments targeting the kidney. Our goal is to drastically improve the lives of patients by increasing survival rates and decreasing the high costs of dialysis. I am excited for the potential of Rila to provide a safe and effective anti-fibrotic treatment,” said He.

The founding team also includes Kyung Lee, associate professor at Icahn Mount Sinai and NIH-funded principal investigator with over 12 years of research experience in nephrology; Robert Drakas, interim CEO of Rila Therapeutics and president of ShangPharma Innovation with more than 25 years of pharmaceutical industry experience, and Michael Hui, chairman of Rila Therapeutics, managing director and co-founder of Pandect Bioventures, and chairman and CEO of ShangPharma Holdings.

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“I am thrilled Rila Therapeutics will be moving forward with IND enabling studies as this therapy is a novel first-in-class treatment for renal fibrosis,” Drakas said.

“We have a fantastic team of industry tenured innovators working to address the burden of chronic fibrotic disease for patients.”

Rila Therapeutics has secured patents to all background IP and composition of matter and will enter IND enabling studies in November 2022 with plans to submit IND to the FDA mid-year 2023.

The small molecule targeting HIPK2 is based on technology developed by Mount Sinai faculty and licensed to Rila Therapeutics. Mount Sinai and Mount Sinai faculty, including He and Lee have a financial interest in Rila Therapeutics. Mount Sinai also has representation on the Rila Therapeutics board of directors.

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