Dallas Bio-Tech powerhouse Peloton Therapeutics has just finished a round of Series-D financing, adding its newest investor, Foresite Capital, which joins Remeditex Ventures, Tichenor Ventures, and The Column Group. All of these venture capital firms are rallying to support Peloton in its development and testing of medication which works by targeting a specific protein hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2alpha.
If a patient has mutations in a tumor suppressor called the Von Hippel-Lindau, (VHL) then that protein, hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2alpha, cannot regulate itself correctly. Because there is a disruption in hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2alpha regulation, actions begin to occur that boost and support renal cell carcinoma, which manifest as malignant cells forming within the tubules of a patients kidneys.
Peloton licensed the research of scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern, who originally identified hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2alpha, and gained great ground by showing that the function of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2alpha could be halted with a small molecule. Peloton has taken this research and applied it to drug development and now believe they have come up with a drug and associated therapy that manipulates hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-2alpha.
Early-phase trials are being conducted, and in conjunction with the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, Peloton preliminary findings from the early-phase trials were published in the journal Nature outlining the regimen as being having the desired effect and tolerance levels for the regimen were manageable by participants.
Peloton plans to use some of the newly raised capital to look for biomarkers, which can tell doctor what types of individuals with reap the greatest reward from this treatment regimen. Peloton will also look into their drug being combined with other drugs used to battle renal cancer in an attempt to come up with a “Combination Therapy.” They will also be testing the possibility of using this drug against other forms of cancer.
Treatment for Renal cancer is costly and has limited effect once the cancer spreads from the kidneys to other parts of the body. One study shows drug cost per year for patients exploding from over $11,000 in 2004 to over $68,000 by 2011. Numbers from the ACS (American Cancer Society) point to over 62,000 cases of Renal Cancer are expected in 2016 and over 14,000 deaths.