At Ikena™, we are advancing a portfolio of targeted therapies intended to enable a personalized approach for every patient with cancer.
Hippo Signaling Pathway
Monotherapy & Multiple Combinations
RAS and RAF altered cancers; additional tumor types
Monotherapy & Nivolumab Combination
MSS-CRC, PGEM Enriched
Targeted Oncology Programs in the Hippo and RAS Signaling Pathways
Our targeted oncology discovery efforts include programs that target the Hippo and RAS pathways, emphasizing our philosophy of designing treatments for tailored patient populations that are identified through the genetic makeup of their tumors. Our lead program, IK-930, targets the key TEAD transcription factor in the Hippo pathway. Across IK-930 and our preclinical pipeline, extensive translational data accompany our strategic development for each target, and we continue to generate data to identify biomarker-defined, underserved cancer patient populations.
The Hippo Signaling Pathway
As a key driver of cancer pathogenesis, the Hippo pathway regulates cell fate, proliferation, and survival. The pathway is genetically altered in approximately 10% of all human cancers. In certain tumors, the genetic alterations in the Hippo pathway can be as frequent as 40%, for example as in malignant Mesothelioma, and in epithelioid hemangioendothelioma (EHE), a rare type of soft tissue sarcoma, where 100% of patients have key Hippo pathway fusion genes.
The Hippo pathway is also implicated in therapeutic resistance, potentially providing compensatory growth and survival signals in tumors when patients are treated with other therapies. Resistance to multiple targeted therapies and tumor recurrence can be linked to YAP/TEAD activation. Overcoming resistance mechanisms can deepen and prolong responses.
Hippo Signaling Pathway Alterations and Activity Trigger Tumor Growth
IK-930: TEAD Inhibitor
IK-930 binds to TEAD transcription factors near the end of the Hippo pathway and prevents the expression of multiple target genes that drive cancer progression, metastases, and therapeutic resistance. We are exploring the potential of IK-930 both as a monotherapy in patients with Hippo pathway-mutated cancers and in combination with other targeted therapies.
The RAS Signaling Pathway
The RAS pathway is a well-known cancer-driving pathway that is mutated in approximately 30% of all human cancers. For decades, the RAS pathway was considered undruggable. Despite advancements in recent years targeting RAS-mutated cancers, approximately 85% of RAS mutations are not addressed by current product candidates or approved therapies. We believe that the key to addressing the unmet need for patients with these mutations is to target the pathway on multiple levels and understand the resistance mechanism to achieve deep and sustained responses.