Inflammation is a fundamental component of most human diseases and disease areas such as autoimmune diseases, allergies, neuroinflammation, thromboinflammation and oncology.
Rigel focuses on identifying and targeting key pathways and cell types of the immune system with small molecules in order to have a broad impact on inflammation in many disease contexts. To find these molecules, we utilize cell-based assays with primary human cells that measure the inhibition of activation and subsequent output of living cells. We believe cell-based assays better represent the actual conditions of human disease, as opposed to commonly used enzymatic assays.
Our first FDA-approved product, fostamatinib disodium hexahydrate (TAVALISSE), is a spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK) inhibitor that was discovered in Rigel’s laboratories. SYK inhibition disrupts signaling pathways that are potentially key to multiple immune diseases and responses. This has proven to be the case in chronic immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), an autoimmune disease in which the body makes antibodies against its own platelets, directing their destruction. We believe there is much broader potential for this molecule and are currently exploring its use in a Phase 3 clinical trial in warm autoimmune hemolytic anemia (AIHA), a Phase 3 clinical trial in COVID-19, as well as continuing to investigate its utility in other indications through pre-clinical studies.