Nektar Therapeutics has started a Phase 1 clinical trial of its biologic therapy NKTR-358 for inflammatory disorders and autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis.
NKTR-358 is a first-in-class regulatory T-cell stimulator designed to correct the immune system dysfunction associated with these disorders. It targets regulatory T-cells, or Tregs.
Other immunosuppressant therapies suppress the entire immune system. By stimulating the growth and activation of Tregs selectively, NKTR-358 decreases the side effects of immunosuppressive therapy.
Treg dysfunction has been implicated in many autoimmune disorders, including multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis, Nektar said.
Primate studies have shown that NKTR-358 increases Treg functioning. In particular, it restores the body’s ability to distinguish between its own molecules and invaders.
In addition, NKTR-358 reduced markers of disease progression in a mouse model of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), Nektar said.
“NKTR-358 has the potential to be a first-in-class key resolution therapeutic in immunology,” Jonathan Zalevsky, PhD, vice president of biology at Nektar, said in a press release.
“Data from non-human primate studies show that NKTR-358 drives proliferation and increased functional activity of Regulatory T cells (Tregs). Suboptimal Treg numbers and their lack of activity underlie many autoimmune diseases, including lupus, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. As the first potential medicine to restore appropriate Treg levels and function, NKTR-358 could address a critical unmet need for patients with serious and debilitating immune disorders.” Zalevsky added.
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