AI mRNA candidate shows early promise in lung fibrosis

Respiratory system

A therapeutic candidate which operates through a novel mRNA biology mechanism of action could open new avenues for treating idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patients.

Anima Biotech has identified a preclinical candidate, effectively disrupting the transformation of fibroblasts into fully differentiated myofibroblasts.

By inhibiting myofibroblasts’ deposition of extracellular matrix, the candidate demonstrates substantial potential in mitigating fibrotic diseases.

The company says that the candidates’ oral efficacy in mouse IPF models demonstrates a remarkable safety-to-activity margin and superiority to standard-of-care drugs. It significantly reduces collagen production and fibrotic biomarkers in cells and tissue explants derived from IPF patients.

“This recent achievement further validates our approach,” said Yochi Slonim, Co-Founder and CEO of Anima. “Our platform’s ability to visualise mRNA biology and decode it with AI technology enables a deeper understanding of disease mechanisms, identification of novel targets, and discovery of drugs that can directly modify the disease phenotype.”

Anima’s has strategic partnerships with companies including AbbVie, Takeda, and Eli Lilly, and a broad pipeline of 20 discovery programmes across immunology, oncology, and neuroscience. Its lead compounds targeting solid tumours are entering the preclinical stage, with additional programmes against lymphoma and neuroblastoma.

In 2023, Anima entered a collaboration with AbbVie to discover and develop mRNA biology modulators for three targets across oncology and immunology.

Announcing the partnership, Jonathon Sedgwick, Vice President and Global Head of Discovery Research at AbbVie, said: “Modulating mRNA biology with small molecules is a new approach and has the potential to address ‘undruggable’ targets with implications across multiple therapy areas.”

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