Impilo Therapeutics Launches to Enable Nucleic Acid-Based Medicines to Effectively Treat Solid Tumor Cancers

SAN DIEGO, CA (August 15, 2023) – Impilo Therapeutics, Inc. (“Impilo”), a privately held drug discovery and development company, today announced that it has launched with the mission to enable nucleic acid-based medicines to effectively treat solid tumor cancers.  The Company’s technology is derived from an agreement with Lisata Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: LSTA) (“Lisata”) for the targeted delivery of nucleic acid-based medicines. Impilo is advancing its Tumor-Penetrating Nanocomplex, or TPN PlatformÔ, to provide a targeted delivery approach for a wide range of nucleic acid  treatment modalities including antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs), small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), messenger RNAs (mRNAs), and in vivo gene editing, and is advancing an internal pipeline of programs for solid tumor cancer indications.

Nucleic acid-based medicines have been approved for a range of diseases, but none for the treatment of cancer. In spite of the potential to provide precision medicines that target the genetic basis of disease, early promise for this class of drugs  in pre-clinical and early clinical development failed to translate into commercial success. The tumor stroma, composed of non-cancerous cells and extracellular matrix surrounding cancer cells, is a primary impediment to effective drug delivery to treat solid tumor cancers and a particular challenge for nucleic acid-based drugs.

“It is clear to everyone involved in launching Impilo that there is enormous potential to translate the promise of nucleic acid-based medicines in treating cancer. We have assembled the right team and the right technology to rapidly advance exciting product opportunities enabled by the TPN Platform to benefit cancer patients,” said David Slack, CEO of Impilo.  “Our platform provides a targeted approach to enable nucleic acid-based drugs to penetrate the layers of the stroma and has shown encouraging results in animal models for many solid tumor types. Importantly, the key tumor-targeted tissue-penetrating technology component of the Platform has demonstrated encouraging activity and favorable safety profile in clinical trials conducted by our partners at Lisata with their investigational drug, LSTA1, in combination with a range of agents across a range of solid tumor types.”

Impilo is led by CEO David Slack, an industry veteran with 30 years of experience leading biotech companies, including numerous financings, strategic partnerships, mergers and acquisitions. David was previously CEO at Lisata’s predecessor, Cend Therapeutics. He has also played senior roles at Viracta Therapeutics, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Aventis Pharma (now Sanofi), Rhone-Poulenc Rorer and RPR Gencell. David is supported by a world-class executive and scientific team with extensive R&D expertise across multiple RNA modalities. John S. Grundy, Ph.D., Chief Development Officer, joins after previously co-founding and serving on the board of DTx Pharma and with a deep background on leading preclinical development and clinical pharmacology at Ionis, Regulus Therapeutics, and Arena Pharmaceuticals.

“I am thrilled by the team and focus that David has brought together to form Impilo,” commented Impilo’s scientific founder, Erkki Ruoslahti, MD, PhD. “Coming from backgrounds at companies that originated multiple nucleic acid drug technologies, they have an appreciation for the challenges in applying this class of drugs for anticancer applications and a solid plan to exploit the broad potential of the TPN Plaform to address these challenges.”

About our TPN Platform

Key components that differentiate the TPN Platform technology include a proprietary tumor-targeted tissue penetrating peptide discovered by Dr. Ruoslahti and colleagues. The internalizing RGD or iRGD peptide targets tumors via affinity for integrins that are selectively expressed on tumor vasculature and key cell types within the tumor stroma, including cancer cells themselves. Once bound to these integrins at the tumor, the peptide is cleaved to release a cryptic peptide fragment that initiates an active transport pathway to enable the peptide, peptide fragment, and tethered nucleic acid-based drugs, to penetrate the layers of the stroma to enable more effective treatment of solid tumor cancers. The Platform also includes peptides targeting additional cell types, such as tumor-associated macrophages. It further incorporates a range of different carrier formats and additional technologies to optimize application across a broad range of nucleic acid-based treatment modalities.

About the Impilo-Lisata Transaction

Lisata granted Impilo exclusive rights to iRGD for nucleic acid-based drug applications and assigned rights to other technologies in exchange for equity in Impilo. Lisata also received right of first negotiation for an Impilo-generated TPN drug development candidate. David Mazzo, PhD, CEO of Lisata, will join Impilo’s Board of Directors alongside Dr. Ruoslahti and David Slack.

About Impilo Therapeutics

Impilo is a privately held drug discovery and development company focused on a novel approach to enable nucleic acid-based medicines to effectively treat solid tumor cancers. The Company was founded by scientists and executives with deep experience and commitment to enable cancer patients to benefit from this important emerging drug class. The TPN Platform™ provides a tumor-targeted tissue penetration capability to specifically enhance nucleic acid drug delivery to tumors. The Company is advancing internal programs and partnering efforts towards the clinic that hold potential to address unmet needs for solid tumor cancer patients.  For more information, please visit and engage with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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