Kura Oncology Reports Preclinical Data Highlighting Synergistic Activity of Menin Inhibitor KO-539 in Combination with Venetoclax

December 13, 2021 at 7:00 AM EST
– New findings presented at ASH support development strategy for KO-539 in KMT2A-rearranged and NPM1-mutant AML –

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 13, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kura Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq: KURA), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to realizing the promise of precision medicines for the treatment of cancer, today announced the presentation of new preclinical data for KO-539, the Company’s oral, potent and selective menin inhibitor, and its potential for synergistic activity in combination with venetoclax, a current standard of care in the treatment of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

The new findings, generated through a research collaboration with Dr. Kapil Bhalla at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, are being presented during a poster session today at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual meeting in Atlanta. A copy of the poster is available on the Company’s website at www.kuraoncology.com.

KO-539 has previously been shown to disrupt the menin-KMT2A/MLL protein-protein interaction, inducing differentiation and potent anti-leukemic activity in genetically defined preclinical models of AML. The new preclinical data confirm that treatment with KO-539 drives dose-dependent induction of growth inhibition, differentiation and loss of viability of AML cells with KMT2A rearrangements or NPM1 mutations, while also reducing key protein levels such as MEIS1, FLT3 and BCL2 and menin itself.

In addition, the new findings show that co-treatment with KO-539 and the BCL2 inhibitor venetoclax induces synergistic activity in patient-derived AML cells expressing KMT2A rearrangements or NPM1 mutations, with or without mutant FLT3 expression, and prolongs survival in an aggressive disseminated model of KMT2A-rearranged, FLT3-mutant AML.

“Although the combination of venetoclax and azacitidine has ushered in a new standard of care, there remains a significant unmet need for patients with AML,” said Troy Wilson, Ph.D., J.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Kura Oncology. “These important findings highlight the molecular mechanisms of anti-leukemic activity for KO-539, suggest the potential for synergistic activity in combination, and support our development strategy to combine KO-539 with venetoclax in patients with AML.”

About KO-539

KO-539 is a novel, once-daily, oral investigational drug candidate targeting the menin-KMT2A/MLL protein-protein interaction for treatment of genetically defined AML patients with high unmet need. KO-539 is currently in a Phase 1b clinical trial (KOMET-001) for patients with relapsed/refractory AML, including patients with NPM1 mutations or KMT2A rearrangements. In July 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Orphan Drug Designation to KO-539 for the treatment of AML.

About Kura Oncology

Kura Oncology is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to realizing the promise of precision medicines for the treatment of cancer. The Company’s pipeline consists of small molecule drug candidates that target cancer signaling pathways. KO-539, a potent and selective menin inhibitor, is currently in a Phase 1b clinical trial (KOMET-001) for patients with relapsed/refractory AML, including patients with NPM1 mutations or KMT2A rearrangements. Tipifarnib, a potent, selective and orally bioavailable farnesyl transferase inhibitor, has received Breakthrough Therapy Designation for the treatment of patients with HRAS mutant HNSCC and is currently in a registration-directed study (AIM-HN) in patients with this devastating disease. In addition, Kura is pursuing the use of tipifarnib in combination with other oncology therapeutics to address larger genetic subsets of patients, including those who have HRAS- and/or PIK3CA-dependent HNSCC. The Company is also developing KO-2806, a next-generation farnesyl transferase inhibitor, which is intended to target innovative biology and larger oncology indications through rational combinations. For additional information about Kura, please visit the Company’s website at www.kuraoncology.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to be materially different from historical results or from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements include statements regarding, among other things, the efficacy, safety and therapeutic potential of KO-539, and the potential for KO-539 synergistic activity in combination. Factors that may cause actual results to differ materially include the risk that compounds that appeared promising in early research or clinical trials do not demonstrate safety and/or efficacy in later preclinical studies or clinical trials, the risk that Kura may not obtain approval to market its product candidates, uncertainties associated with performing clinical trials, regulatory filings, applications and other interactions with regulatory bodies, risks associated with reliance on third parties to successfully conduct clinical trials, the risks associated with reliance on outside financing to meet capital requirements, and other risks associated with the process of discovering, developing and commercializing drugs that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics, and in the endeavor of building a business around such drugs. You are urged to consider statements that include the words “may,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “believes,” “estimates,” “projects,” “promise,” “potential,” “expects,” “plans,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “continues,” “designed,” “goal,” or the negative of those words or other comparable words to be uncertain and forward-looking. For a further list and description of the risks and uncertainties the Company faces, please refer to the Company's periodic and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), including the Company’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2021 filed with the SEC on November 4, 2021, which are available at www.sec.gov. Such forward-looking statements are current only as of the date they are made, and Kura assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Contacts

Company:
Pete De Spain
Vice President, Investor Relations &
Corporate Communications
(858) 500-8803
pete@kuraoncology.com

Investors:
Robert H. Uhl
Managing Director
Westwicke ICR
(858) 356-5932
robert.uhl@westwicke.com

Media:
Jason Spark
Managing Director
Canale Communications
(619) 849-6005
jason@canalecomm.com


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Source: Kura Oncology, Inc.