Telomere targeting agents
MAIA has initiated an early-stage research and discovery program aimed at identifying new compounds capable of acting through similar mechanisms of activity as THIO, such as the targeting and modifying telomeric structures of cancer cells through cancer-cell intrinsic telomerase activity. The main objective for this program is to discover new compounds with potentially improved specificity towards cancer cells relative to normal cells and with potentially increased anticancer activity. This program may also allow us to strengthen our patent portfolio. Although the program is in early stages and we may not be able to identify suitable compounds, we believe we will be able to create a second generation of THIO-like compounds.
Our current second-generation pipeline of potential telomere-targeting agents includes five compounds that have successfully undergone in vitro inhibitory testing in five cancer models. The data from those studies showed a significantly lower 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) for those compounds compared to THIO. Based on those data, we have progressed those five compounds to in vivo testing and with proceeds from the IPO, we plan to initiate pre-IND testing for two of them in mid-2022, with the goal of advancing them to clinical trials by the end of 2024.