Pioneering complement drug discovery

to deliver transformative therapies for people with complement-mediated diseases

Unlocking Complement, a Key Driver of Disease

Scientists have long sought to develop therapies to modulate the complement system, a complex but critical mechanism of innate immunity responsible for activating an immune or inflammatory response against pathogens, and a known driver and amplifier of disease. In many complement-mediated diseases, this complex system is activated in error causing pervasive tissue damage and triggering systemic inflammation to fuel disease progression and symptomology. In other diseases like cancer, the complement system fails to recognize cancer cells as foreign or aids their escape from immune surveillance, preventing the body from mounting an active immune response to fight disease.

Founded by world renowned experts in complement biology, Kira Pharmaceuticals is pioneering the field, developing a pipeline of compelling therapies designed to achieve better, longer acting and targeted immune modulation across a range of diseases—while still preserving or minimizing impairment in the body’s ability to actively fight new pathogens.

The complement pathway activates many proteins in the body and can lead to excessive inflammation and disease

Moving from Complexity to Clarity: to improve the lives of patients

A LOGICal Approach

Consisting of three central pathways and scores of proteins, the complement system is complex and historically difficult to drug. Different diseases may implicate different activation pathways and effectors, requiring a nuanced understanding of disease pathology and a focused approach to identify and drug points of intervention across the complement cascade to maximize and optimize therapeutic response. Kira Pharmaceuticals has designed its LOGIC (Lead identification, Optimization and attribute Generation, In vivo Confirmation) drug discovery platform to overcome the inherent challenges in complement drug discovery and develop a pipeline of first and potentially best-in-class therapies to improve the lives of patients.

Kira’s Lead identification, Optimization and attribute Generation, In vivo Confirmation (LOGIC) platform technologies enables better:

Target Identification

Target validation and indication selection

Design

State-of-the art protein design and engineering system to enable development of therapies with superior efficacy and longer lasting inhibition

Translation

Proprietary PK/PD prediction models to endure reliable translation from discovery to the clinic

Therapeutic Opportunities

Our first program is a powerful proof of concept — a carefully engineered and PK/PD-validated bi-functional biologic, with the ability to target two rate-limiting steps in the complement activation cascade, critical in a number of hematological, renal, neurological and dermatological diseases that are autoimmune in nature. It has increased potency, superior efficacy, and improved safety and dosing convenience over current therapies while addressing important unmet medical needs. Other therapies are in development to treat a range of immune-inflammatory diseases and cancers in the US, Asia and other global markets.

team

Kira’s founding and management team includes established drug developers and world-renowned experts in complement biology. Internal leadership is augmented by well-respected academic collaborators at major US and European research institutions alongside an outstanding Scientific Advisory Board with international reputation. Named after a complement 3 glomerulopathy (C3G) patient, Kira Pharmaceuticals is driven by the opportunity for impact — to deliver life-changing new medicines for people with chronic and acute complement-mediated diseases around the world.

Leadership

Frederick Beddingfield, MD, PhD

Frederick Beddingfield, MD, PhD

CEO

Frederick Beddingfield, MD, PhD

Frederick Beddingfield, MD, PhD

CEO

Frederick C. Beddingfield III is a physician-scientist, biotech entrepreneur and current CEO and director of Kira Pharmaceuticals. Prior to his position at Kira Pharma, he was founder, president, chief executive and member of the board of directors of Sienna Biopharmaceuticals Inc. and took the company public in 2017. Previous to Sienna, Frederick served as Chief Medical Officer of Kythera Biopharmaceuticals from March 2013 until it was acquired by Allergan in 2015. Frederick worked at Allergan for 10 years (2003-2013) where he served in various roles including the Therapeutic Area Head of Dermatology and Chief Medical Officer Allergan Medical. He has led the development and approvals of global leading brands in medical dermatology, aesthetics, neurology, metabolic, and other therapeutic areas. These brands include Botox (cosmetic, hyperhidrosis, spasticity, and other), Juvederm, Voluma, Kybella, Latisse, Aczone, and Tazorac. Frederick has led four successful FDA advisor committees.

Since completing his training, Frederick has maintained a clinical and teaching practice on the faculty at UCLA. He is a board-certified dermatologist and emergency medicine physician and fellowship trained in dermatologic surgery and cutaneous oncology. Frederick completed his medical degree with honors at UNC Chapel Hill, his residency and fellowship training at UCLA, and his PhD in Policy Analysis Research at RAND. He serves on the board of directors of Cytrellis Biosystems, Inc. and on the medical advisory board of the Children’s Skin Disease Foundation and Camp Wonder. He is the director and co-founder of the Dermatology Summit and Dermatology Innovation Forum conferences.

Wenru Song, MD, PhD

Wenru Song, MD, PhD

President & Head of R&D, Co-founder

Wenru Song, MD, PhD

Wenru Song, MD, PhD

President & Head of R&D, Co-founder

Dr. Wenru Song is the co-founder, President and Head of R&D of Kira Pharmaceuticals, a new biotech startup based on cutting-edge immunological sciences. Dr. Song was most recently as the global VP and global clinical leader of Immuno-Oncology development at AstraZeneca Global Medicines. Previously, Dr. Song was the Head of Regional Oncology Development in Asia-Pacific at Millennium/Takeda Oncology, and global clinical lead at Pfizer Immuno-oncology. Prior to joining the pharma-industry, he was an associate investigator at Baylor Institute of Immunology Research and an attending oncologist physician at Baylor Sammons Cancer Center. He studied Medicine in Shandong University and PhD in Immunology at Texas A&M University, with internal medicine training at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine and medical oncology fellowship at Stanford University.

Gonghua Pan, MBA PhD

Gonghua Pan, MBA PhD

Head of China Operations, Co-founder

Gonghua Pan, MBA PhD

Gonghua Pan, MBA PhD

Head of China Operations, Co-founder

Dr. Gonghua Pan co-founded Kira Pharmaceuticals in 2017 and has been the Head of China Operations since May 2020. Prior to this role, he was Chief Operating Officer and General Manager. He has over 25 years of experience working in U.S. biotech, multinational pharmaceuticals, and global Contract Research Organizations (CROs). Most recently, Dr. Pan served as the VP of Operations and Head of the Program Management Office (PMO) at Wuxi AppTec. Prior to Wuxi, he was Director of External Research Solutions at Pfizer, managing a global network of CROs. Dr. Pan also has significant experience in drug discovery research in the U.S. and has delivered multiple programs into early development throughout his career.

Dr. Pan received his Ph.D from University of Wisconsin-Madison and his B.S. from Beijing University, both in Chemistry.  He also received his MBA from Yale University.

Kathy He, MBA, MS

Kathy He, MBA, MS

Chief Business Officer

Kathy He, MBA, MS

Kathy He, MBA, MS

Chief Business Officer

Kathy He joined Kira after serving as CBO and Head of Corporate Development at Abbisko Therapeutics, where she led the company’s B and C rounds of financing, raising over $100M from internationally renowned venture investors as well as sourcing and executing strategic cross-border and domestic partnerships for business development. Prior to Abbisko, she served as a managing director and venture partner at several investment firms, was founder and CEO of Vivregen, and has experience leading commercial launches of several blockbuster drugs in the US at multi-national companies such as Takeda, Merck and Abbott.

Kathy received her undergraduate Bachelor’s degree from Wuhan University, with a follow-on Masters from the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Richard Lee, MD

Richard Lee, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Richard Lee, MD

Richard Lee, MD

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Richard Lee comes to the Kira team after serving as Head of Hematology at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, a global company specializing in rare diseases.  He has served in clinical and medical affairs leadership roles at pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies including Bayer, Roche, Genentech, Millennium/Takeda, and Bristol-Myers-Squibb, gaining significant experience developing products across a large spectrum of small molecules, proteasome inhibitors, and large biologics. He has been crucial in the development and launch of first-to-market medicines throughout his career.

He completed his MD from Indiana University School of Medicine, MBA from George Washington University and his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from the University of Arizona.

Dana Zhang, MD, MS

Dana Zhang, MD, MS

Chief Commercial Officer (China)

Dana Zhang, MD, MS

Dana Zhang, MD, MS

Chief Commercial Officer (China)

Dr. Dana Zhang has 20+ years’ experience in Pharma Industry including medical, marketing, commercial management, business development and regulatory affair; she has worked in rare diseases and orphan drug market since 2004.

Before joining Kira, Dana served as General Manager of Greater China in Alexion with profound knowledge of complement system for 9 years (2011-2019); responsible for all aspects of commercial operations strategy and P&L management in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China. Previous to Alexion, Dana was Head of Business Development in Celgene China for Revlimid and Vidaza; Country Manager of Actelion China and led the successful launch of Tracleer with clinical trial waiver. She had led the establishment of 4 foreign Biopharma entities in China (Alexion, Celgene, Actelion and Genzyme). Her earlier career included extensive experience in Medical and Marketing for Roche Shanghai in Renal Transplant Business Unit (2000-2003).

Before Dana’s highly successful career in the Pharma industry, she was a Clinical Nephrologist in Renji Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and holds a Master Degree in Clinical Medicine, Shanghai Second Medical University.

Scientific Advisory Board

Wenchao Song, PhD

Wenchao Song, PhD

Kira Scientific Founder & Chair; UPenn

Wenchao Song, PhD

Wenchao Song, PhD

Kira Scientific Founder & Chair; UPenn

Dr. Wenchao Song is the Scientific Founder of Kira and chairs its Scientific Advisory Board.  He is Professor of Pharmacology in the Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). Wenchao completed college in China before pursuing graduate studies in the UK under the auspices of a British Council scholarship. He received his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Wales, Bangor and subsequently conducted postdoctoral studies in the Division of Clinical Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, TN. He joined the Pharmacology faculty at Penn Medicine in 1995 and is a member of both the pharmacology and immunology graduate groups.

Dr. Song is an internationally renowned expert on complement biology. His research group pioneered studies of mouse models of complement-mediated diseases. Their work has helped reveal fundamental knowledge of how complement is regulated in vivo, with translational relevance to anti-complement therapeutics. He has been recognized as an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association and is a recipient of the Lady Barbra Colyton Prize in Autoimmune Disease Research. He chaired the organizing committee of the XXI International Complement Workshop and was elected and served both as a Councilor and Treasurer of the International Complement Society.

Ronald Levy, MD

Ronald Levy, MD

Stanford School of Medicine; Stanford Cancer Institute

Ronald Levy, MD

Ronald Levy, MD

Stanford School of Medicine; Stanford Cancer Institute

Dr. Levy is the Robert K. Summy and Helen K. Summy Professor of Medicine and Director of the Lymphoma Program at Stanford University School of Medicine. He is also the Associate Director of Translational Science for the Stanford Cancer Institute. For more than 25 years his research has focused on monoclonal antibodies and the study of malignant lymphoma, currently using the tools of immunology and molecular biology to develop a better understanding of the initiation and progression of the malignant process. He was the first to successfully treat cancer with a monoclonal antibody, and went on to help develop rituximab (Rituxan®) for the treatment of patients’ lymphomas. Dr. Levy is using lymphocyte receptors as targets for new therapies for lymphoma, and he is currently conducting clinical trials of in situ therapeutic vaccination.

Dr. Levy is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.

Garret A. FitzGerald, MD, FRS

Garret A. FitzGerald, MD, FRS

The FitzGerald Lab – UPenn

Garret A. FitzGerald, MD, FRS

Garret A. FitzGerald, MD, FRS

The FitzGerald Lab – UPenn

Dr. Garret FitzGerald is the McNeil Professor in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he directs the Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics.  Previously, he chaired the Department of Systems Pharmacology and Translational Therapeutics for more than 20 years. Dr. FitzGerald’s research has been characterized by an integrative approach to elucidating the mechanisms of drug action, drawing on work in cells, model organisms and humans. His work contributed fundamentally to the development of low-dose aspirin for cardioprotection. FitzGerald’s group was the first to predict and then mechanistically explain the cardiovascular hazard from NSAIDs. He has also discovered many products of lipid peroxidation and established their utility as indices of oxidant stress in vivo. His laboratory was the first to discover a molecular clock in the cardiovascular system and has studied the importance of peripheral clocks in aging and in the regulation of cardiovascular and metabolic function. Dr. FitzGerald has received the Boyle, Coakley, Harvey and St. Patrick’s Day medals, the Lucian, Scheele, Spector and Hunter Awards and the Cameron, Taylor, Herz, Lefoulan Delalande, and Schottenstein Prizes. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy and the UK Academy of Medicine, a member of the Leopoldina and of the Accademia dei Lyncei, a Fellow of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences and of the Royal Society. He holds honorary degrees from UCD and RCSI in Dublin, Frankfurt, Edinburgh and King’s College, London.

Paul Morgan, MB, PhD

Paul Morgan, MB, PhD

Systems Immunity Research Institute – Cardiff University

Paul Morgan, MB, PhD

Paul Morgan, MB, PhD

Systems Immunity Research Institute – Cardiff University

Professor Paul Morgan graduated from the Welsh National School of Medicine in 1980. Following his early medical training in Cardiff, he specialised in Clinical Biochemistry obtaining his PhD in 1984. Following two years in the US developing his research skills, Professor Morgan returned to Cardiff University to take up a lectureship in Clinical Biochemistry. He won a prestigious Wellcome Trust Senior Clinical Fellowship in 1987, and remained a Fellow for 15 years.  In 2001, he was appointed Head of Medical Biochemistry and Immunology in the former University of Wales College of Medicine. Post-merger with Cardiff University, he was appointed Dean of Medical Research in the School of Medicine from 2007, responsible for developing the School’s Medical Research strategy.  He was Dean of Medicine and Head of the School of Medicine from April 2009 to December 2013.

Prof Morgan is a Member of the College of Physicians, Fellow of the College of Pathologists, Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and Fellow of the Academia Europaea. He was a member of the Immunology Panel for RAE 2008.

Professor Morgan is a research specialist in Clinical Immunology and has created an internationally leading research group at Cardiff working on Complement Biology. He has published over 400 research papers and reviews; his current research is focussed on the role of complement in neurological and degenerative diseases. He is Director of the Systems Immunity Research Institute at Cardiff and a Programme Lead in the Dementia Research Institute UK, Cardiff.

Jörg Köhl, MD

Jörg Köhl, MD

Institute for Systemic Inflammation Research – Lübeck University

Jörg Köhl, MD

Jörg Köhl, MD

Institute for Systemic Inflammation Research – Lübeck University

With over 30 years of experience in the medical and research realms, Dr. Jörg Köhl has been interested in the role of complement and other arms of innate immunity and the impact of this cross-talk on innate and adaptive immune responses. As Professor and Founding Director of the Institute for Systemic Inflammation Research, University of Lübeck (UzL), Germany, Dr. Köhl has successfully conducted numerous research studies and published almost 200 scientific research papers in reference to the complement therapeutic landscape with a focus on anaphylatoxic peptides C3a and C5a and their G-Protein-coupled receptors in experimental models of asthma, autoimmune diseases, transplantation and infections.

Dr. Köhl earned his undergraduate degree in the Study of Biology from Universities of Bochum and Mainz, alongside his medical degree from the University of Mainz, Germany.

Investors

news

​Kira Pharmaceuticals Announces First Participant Dosed in Phase 1 Clinical Trial for P014, a Bifunctional Biologic Medicine

Kira Pharmaceuticals to Present at the 39th Annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

Kira Pharmaceuticals Announces $53.5 Million Series B+ Financing to Advance LOGIC Drug Discovery Platform and Pipeline of Complement-targeted Therapies

Read More News > here

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