MannKind Corporation, a company focused on the development and commercialization of inhaled therapeutic products for patients with endocrine and orphan lung diseases, announced that has extended its collaboration with Thirona Bio, (‘Thirona’) with the purchase of a second convertible note issued by Thirona, and the appointment of Michael Castagna, PharmD as a member of the Thirona board of directors.
Under the terms of the collaboration, which began in June 2021, the companies are evaluating the therapeutic potential of Thirona’s locally acting TGF-β inhibitor, FBM5712, for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis. MannKind is developing MNKD-501, a dry powder inhaled formulation of FBM5712, which is advancing to nonclinical pharmacodynamics (PD) study with key results anticipated in 2Q 2022. If initial studies are promising, MannKind can exercise certain rights to seek a full license to the compound for clinical development and commercialization for the treatment of fibrotic pulmonary diseases.
FBM5712 is a novel small molecule inhibitor of ALK-5 kinase (the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) receptor kinase), which is also being developed by Thirona as a topical product intended to prevent and/or reduce skin fibrosis.
“Our preliminary prototype powders utilized in a pharmacokinetic study in rats produced concentrations in the lungs that appear to persist long enough to suggest that the drug could perform as hoped,” said Thomas Hofmann, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer of MannKind Corporation. “These early positive signals warrant further evaluation and if successful, will trigger IND-enabling toxicology work for the compound.”
Dr Gordon Foulkes, Thirona Bio’s founder and chief executive officer, added, “We are pleased to progress our collaboration with further investment and guidance from the team at MannKind. We’re thrilled with the momentum since last summer and look forward to advancing a promising new formulation of FBM5712 for fibrotic lung diseases.”