Halia Therapeutics Raises $30 Million to Advance Pipeline of Anti-Inflammatory Therapeutics
February 1, 2024
Rare Daily Staff
Halia Therapeutics, a clinical-stage company pioneering a novel class of small molecule therapeutics designed to combat inflammation, raised $30 million in a series C financing.
Todd Pedersen led the financing with continued participation from existing investors.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to support the advancement of Halia’s lead asset, HT-6184, a selective and orally bioavailable first-in-class inhibitor of NLRP3/NEK7 inflammasome in phase 2 clinical trials.
NLRP3, an innate immune sensor, is activated in response to various pathogenic and sterile stimuli. Activation of NLRP3 triggers the release of the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18 and induces a lytic cell death process called pyroptosis. These processes lead to systemic chronic inflammation. Halia’s therapeutic inhibition of NLRP3 prevents the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome and promotes its disassembly once formed, thereby inhibiting the production and release of IL-1β and IL-18. Persistent activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome is thought to drive the onset and progression of many conditions, including fibrotic, dermatological, and auto-inflammatory diseases. Significant neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis are also driven by NLRP3 activation.
HT-6184 is the first drug candidate to target the protein NEK7 through an allosteric mechanism. NEK7 is an essential component of the NLRP3 inflammasome and is critical for its assembly and the maintenance of NLRP3 activity. In preclinical models, Halia has shown that inhibiting the ability of NEK7 to bind to NLRP3 leads to a disruption in the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome complex, thereby inhibiting the signaling from the inflammasome and reducing the inflammatory response. Preclinical models also showed that in addition to disrupting the formation of the NLRP3 inflammasome, HT-6184 promotes the disassembly of the inflammasome once activated.
Halia recently initiated a phase 2a trial in India to treat patients with lower-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (LR-MDS), a group of rare cancers in which the bone marrow produces underdeveloped cells that are abnormal in size, shape, or appearance and are therefore “dysplastic.”
The company also plans to evaluate HT-6184 in phase 2 trials in the United States for the treatment of post-procedure inflammatory pain response, as well as begin a phase I trial in Alzheimer’s patients. Funding will also support IND-enabling studies for Halia’s alternative programs that are developing Leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) inhibitors to treat neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, in addition to building out clinical and regulatory teams further to support the global development of the company’s pipeline.
“This financing will help us to advance significantly our lead drug candidate, HT-6184, in ongoing global phase 2 trials and will support the trajectory of our additional programs targeting neuroinflammation into the clinic, bringing us even closer to breakthrough treatments for inflammatory-related diseases,” said David Bearss, CEO of Halia Therapeutics.
Photo: David Bearss, CEO of Halia Therapeutics
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