Research & development
Alethia is a clinical-stage company that addresses urgent medical needs by using functional genomics to identify novel therapeutic targets. The Company discovers these new targets using a proprietary subtractive cloning technology called STAR, one of the most sensitive transcription-based platforms that results in comprehensive expression profiles of diseased conditions. By conserving the relative abundance of each mRNA, STAR has the sensitivity to deliver differentially expressed transcripts of both high and low abundance leading to the discovery of candidate genes normally not seen using other approaches.
Alethia’s pipeline places great emphasis on the development of monoclonal antibodies generated against its disease-specific targets. The application of STAR to clinical samples from malignant ovarian tumors led to the identification of proteins that are over-expressed in this terrible disease. One of these proteins, called KAAG1, is an antigen found in greater than 85% of ovarian tumors as well as a majority of triple-negative breast tumors. A high affinity antibody, AB-3A4, is currently the object of development as an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) representing a completely new therapeutic approach for these cancer patients where treatment options are very limited.
Alethia is also developing an inhibitor of the epithelial-to-mesenchynal transition (EMT). AB-16B5 is a humanized IgG2 monoclonal antibody which targets tumor-associated secreted clusterin (sCLU). sCLU is a potent inducer of EMT and treatment of animal models of cancer results in potent inhibition of EMT leading to a decrease in tumor invasion and enhanced response to chemotherapy. Results from a Phase I clinical study in patients with metastatic carcinoma refractory to conventional therapies have shown good tolerability and safety profiles as well as clinical benefit for many patients. The results also demonstrated that AB-16B5 inhibits TEM in patients demonstrating the enormous therapeutic potential of this innovative molecule. A Phase II clinical study will soon be initiated in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer.