2:05 PM
 | 
Apr 26, 2019
 |  BioCentury  |  Product Development

Cytokinetics’ muscle gambit nears POC for next-gen therapies

How Cytokinetics' muscle biology decision may bear fruit in next-gen therapies

Editor's Note: This article was updated on May 14, 2019 at 8:31 AM PDT

Cytokinetics is banking that its nearly 15 years of muscle biology research will pay dividends with its next-generation therapies for cardiovascular and neuromuscular disorders. The next signal will come in early May when the biotech reports Phase II data for reldesemtiv in ALS.

Over its 21 year history -- the first six of which were spent in cancer -- Cytokinetics Inc. has seen its share of wins and losses.

While many of its peers were flocking into oncology, Cytokinetics went in the opposite direction, entering a field with relatively few competitors, but equally sparse understanding of the translational biology.

“There really aren’t any other companies focused on muscle and how to augment muscle performance in ways that are therapeutically gainful,” said President and CEO Robert Blum. “We embarked on that path knowing it was going to be a long journey.”

For instance, Blum noted that Cytokinetics’ lead program, omecamtiv mecarbil, spent nearly 10 years in Phase II testing as the company worked through dosing and formulation challenges.

Cytokinetics and partner Amgen Inc. now have the cardiac myosin activator in the Phase III GALACTIC-HF study. A second interim analysis for the 8,000-patient CV outcomes trial is expected in 1H20, with full data coming in 2021.

“We embarked on that path knowing it was going to be a long journey.”

Robert Blum, Cytokinetics

Close on its heels are two clinical programs -- reldesemtiv, a fast skeletal muscle troponin activator, and CK-274, a cardiac myosin inhibitor -- that Cytokinetics believes can improve upon their predecessors.

The hope is that reldesemtiv can avoid the tolerability issues of tirasemtiv, the first generation candidate, which failed in the...

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