We are exploring the use of our novel STING antagonist compounds for the treatment of certain autoimmune and inflammatory diseases where the STING pathway is involved. Our STING antagonists are selectively designed to block aberrant activation of the STING pathway, which contributes to the causes of certain autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, including STING-associated vasculopathy with onset in infancy (SAVI), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and other proinflammatory-mediated diseases. We have currently developed several potent inhibitors with favorable drug-like properties to allow for once a day dosing by the oral route of administration.
In the third quarter of 2019, at the Autoimmunity Conference organized by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, we presented preclinical data from a novel STING antagonist compound, which showed potent inhibition of interferon-beta and other pro-inflammatory cytokines in in vitro models containing wild type or mutant STING. In vivo administration of one of the candidate, compounds antagonized STING-specific mediated interferon and cytokine production in the blood, spleen and liver in mice, suggesting the potential that this compound may have for therapeutic applications in interferonopathies, as well as in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Furthermore, later in the third quarter of 2019, we entered into a research agreement with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School to evaluate our small molecule STING antagonist compounds in relevant disease models.