Kolltan Pharmaceuticals, Inc., is a private company founded in 2007 that is developing novel monoclonal antibody (mAb) drugs targeting receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). Kolltan's primary targets derive from seminal discoveries made in the laboratory of Dr. Joseph Schlessinger, Chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the Yale School of Medicine, and in Kolltan’s laboratories. Dr. Schlessinger's laboratory has characterized a novel molecular mechanism underlying activation of RTKs providing, for the first time, a clear molecular explanation — at atomic resolution — for the oncogenic activity of mutations that have been identified in a variety of human cancers.
These proprietary findings enable new strategies for selective inhibition of both ligand-stimulated and oncogenic RTKs. Kolltan is targeting several RTKs playing well-validated roles in a range of cancers and other diseases. With the benefit of an exclusive license to certain key intellectual property arising out of Dr. Schlessinger's laboratory, Kolltan is focusing on the rapid translation of such intellectual property into lead therapeutic molecules, and on the development of drugs that complement and enhance existing standards of cancer therapy.
The current generation of cancer drugs, which act by interfering with the tyrosine kinase activity of oncogenic tyrosine kinases, has been remarkably successful in the treatment of a variety of cancers. Unfortunately, it is now clear that many patients responding to these drugs develop resistance in later dosing cycles, and ultimately fail therapy. Kolltan expects that the mechanism of action of its drugs will be unaffected by such resistance.
Kolltan's strategy for its first disease targets is to focus initially on the development of therapeutic human mAbs. Kolltan will assess additional targets through proof of principle experiments.
Kolltan’s lead drug candidate, KTN3379, is undergoing Phase 1 clinical testing evaluating safety, preliminary evidence of antitumor activity, and pharmacokinetics. KTN3379 is a human monoclonal antibody that blocks the activity of ErbB3, a member of the ErbB family of RTKs. KTN3379 has a dual mechanism of action that blocks activity of ErbB3 when activated by stimulatory growth factor neuregulin or by other receptor tyrosine kinases (such as ErbB2) in the absence of neuregulin. Currently marketed products, both antibodies and small molecules, that are active against other members of the ErbB family have shown clinical benefit in the treatment of a range of solid tumors, including lung, head and neck, colorectal and breast malignancies. However, there is currently no marketed drug that binds to and inhibits the action of ErbB3.
Kolltan's offices and laboratories are located in New Haven, Connecticut in close proximity to the Schlessinger Laboratory at the Yale School of Medicine. Pursuant to an agreement with Yale University, Kolltan supports continuing RTK research in the Schlessinger Laboratory. Kolltan has not entered into any commercial partnership or collaboration agreements for the clinical development or commercialization of any products but does expect to consider them as Kolltan's portfolio matures.