Ikena™ Approach

We are pioneering the discovery and development of novel patient-directed oncology therapies targeting key signaling pathways that drive the formation and spread of cancer.

At Ikena, we begin with the end in mind. We develop oncology therapies that are best for patients by understanding which patients are best suited for our therapies. We focus on genetically defined or biomarker-driven cancers, which enables us to target specific patient populations that we believe are most likely to respond to treatment with our product candidates.
We have a track record, as a team, of developing a deep pipeline of biomarker-driven therapies targeting key signaling pathways that drive the formation and spread of cancer, aimed at molecularly defined cancer patient populations.
advance novel oncology therapies

We employ a patient-centric R&D approach across discovery chemistry and biology, translational science and clinical development for our targeted oncology and tumor microenvironment therapies.

We select new programs based on two key strategic principles:

  • Cancer driver targets must have a compelling biological rationale, including:
    • Tumor intrinsic changes such as mutations, gene fusions, and gene amplifications.
    • Strong clinical rationale with the potential to develop a first-in-class or best-in-class therapeutic.
  • Alignment with a translational path in disease indications with high unmet medical need, including:
    • No currently approved therapies, or patient populations that are underserved by current treatments.
    • A biomarker-driven proof-of-concept clinical development plan.

We pursue the discovery and development of small molecule modulators of targets in any target classes that meet these key strategic principles. To date, we have pursued programs and product candidates against transcription factors, kinases, receptors and tumor microenvironment metabolites.

We believe our expertise, capabilities and experience in discovering small molecules using structural biology- guided chemistry and in vivo systems to optimize pharmaceutical properties to rigorously select the best molecules, is key to our progress to date. In parallel to selecting lead small molecules, we are generating translational insights and discovering biomarkers to select patients who we believe may be most likely to benefit. We take a holistic view of the entire R&D process to design a focused clinical strategy to maximize the probability of success for each program, integrating collective knowledge of discovery and translational science, in order to select what we believe are the most relevant tumor types and the patients who may benefit the most.

Early in the R&D process, we identify biomarkers to support which tumor types we may pursue in the clinic and to help determine which patients with the selected tumor types may be better suited for our therapies. Because our pipeline has been focused on programs where there are no approved product candidates, we have had to discover novel biomarkers internally to enable indication and patient selection strategies, as well as develop new assays to measure these biomarkers in the clinic. We are currently using these biomarkers across our pipeline using techniques and assays such as LC-MS/MS for metabolites analysis, RNASeq for gene signature, immunohistochemistry, or IHC, next generation sequencing, or NGS, and chemokine/cytokine profiling.

We are continuing to execute our patient-centric R&D approach as planned and we are currently working on a number of early stage discovery programs in the targeted oncology space.

Explore the scientific research that supports our pipeline.