Michigan-based biopharma company Sling Therapeutics, Inc. has launched, with $35 million in series A financing led by TPG’s The Rise Fund.
The company is focused on late-stage development of an oral small molecule for the treatment of thyroid eye disease (TED). The funds support a phase 2b clinical trial evaluating its investigational drug, linsitinib.
“We are launching Sling Therapeutics with a clinical development program that is based on an extensive amount of data with over 800 patients having received linsitinib in cancer clinical trials, which allows us to accelerate development of linsitinib in TED,” said Ryan Zeidan, president and chief executive officer of Sling Therapeutics.
“Linsitinib will be the first oral IGF-1R inhibitor to enter late-stage clinical trials for TED and we have the potential to bring a convenient orally administered drug to patients. We are pleased to have received IND clearance from the FDA and are initiating a Phase 2b study. Our goal is to significantly reduce the treatment burden for patients and the healthcare system compared to currently marketed products.”
Thyroid eye disease
TED is a debilitating autoimmune disease affecting about 20,000 people in the U.S. per year and has a similar prevalence in Europe.
The immune system mistakenly attacks the muscle and fat tissue behind the eyes, causing inflammation and scar tissue to form. The inflammation can push the eyes forward or cause the eyes and eyelids to become red and swollen.
As the disease progresses it can lead to pain, eye bulging, double vision, and a profound reduction in quality of life. TED predominantly affects women, and most frequently affects people with hyperthyroidism due to Graves’ disease.
Linsitinib, which was in-licensed from Astellas Pharma to Sling Therapeutics, is designed to inhibit the insulin-like growth factor I receptor (IGF-1R). Dysfunction in the IGF-1R signaling pathway leads to a prevalence of thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor autoantibodies (TSHR-Abs). This drives excess fibrous tissue growth.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared an investigational new drug (IND) application for linsitinib for the treatment of TED, and Sling Therapeutics is initiating a Phase 2b clinical trial. The company is also exploring additional potential indications beyond TED, including in rare and autoimmune diseases.
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