About Pliant

Pliant Therapeutics is focused on discovering, developing and commercializing breakthrough treatments for fibrotic diseases.

By harnessing the therapeutic potential of integrin biology and TGF-β modulation, Pliant aims to prevent or even reverse fibrosis to address the needs of many patients. The company also aims to build a patient registry for certain areas of fibrotic disease to both increase understanding of natural disease progression, and fuel biomarker discovery.

Pliant’s co-founders include world-renowned researchers from University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), who bring broad experience in fibrosis biology and small molecule chemistry. Together, the Pliant team is dedicated to translating scientific advances in fibrosis biology into novel therapies for patients in need.

News

Apr
28

Pliant Therapeutics Expands Leadership Team


Feb
18

Third Rock Ventures Launches Pliant Therapeutics with $45 Million Series A to Treat Fibrotic Diseases


A Personal Note

“Historically, fibrosis has been studied in silos. The fibrosis disease process, however, is often conserved across tissues and diseases. At Pliant, we are working on a unified effort to better understand and treat fibrosis. With this approach, we aim to transform the lives of patients who suffer from these debilitating diseases. Please contact us if you want to learn more, or join us in our efforts.”

Sincerely
bernard coulie
Bernard Coulie, M.D., Ph.D.

Hans Hull, J.D.

Hans Hull, J.D.

Chief Business Officer

David Morgans, Ph.D.

David Morgans, Ph.D.

Vice President of Drug Discovery and Early Development

Patrick Andre, Ph.D.

Patrick Andre, Ph.D.

Vice President of Biology

Randall Halcomb, Ph.D.

Randall Halcomb, Ph.D.

Vice President of Medicinal Chemistry

Richard Gaster, M.D., Ph.D.

Richard Gaster, M.D., Ph.D.

Director of Translational Medicine

Craig Muir

Craig Muir

Interim Chief Technology Officer

Dean Sheppard, M.D.

Dean Sheppard, M.D.

Professor, UCSF School of Medicine

Bill DeGrado, Ph.D.

Bill DeGrado, Ph.D.

Professor, UCSF School of Pharmacy

Hal Chapman, M.D.

Hal Chapman, M.D.

Professor, UCSF School of Medicine

Bradley Backes, Ph.D.

Bradley Backes, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, UCSF School of Medicine

Perry Karsen

Perry Karsen

Chairman

Neil Exter

Neil Exter

Board Member

Charles Homcy, M.D.

Charles Homcy, M.D.

Board Member

Biology

David Phillips, Ph.D.

Co-founded Global Blood Therapeutics, Portola Pharmaceuticals and Cor Therapeutics

Rik Derynck, Ph.D.

Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Cell and Tissue Biology at UCSF

Translational Medicine

Naftali Kaminski, M.D.

Professor of Internal Medicine and Chief of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at Yale School of Medicine

Andrew Tager, M.D.

Associate Physician of Pulmonary and Critical at MGH and Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard

David Schwartz, M.D.

Professor of Medicine and Immunology and Robert W. Schrier Chair of Medicine at the University of Colorado

Christine Garcia, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pulmonary Medicine and Critical Care at UTSW

Paul Noble, M.D.

Chair of the Department of Medicine and Director of the Women's Guild Lung Institute at Cedars-Sinai

David Brenner, M.D.

Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for health sciences at UC San Diego

Chemistry

Brian Metcalf, Ph.D.

Senior Consultant at Global Blood Therapeutics

John C. “Jack” Chabala, Ph.D.

Vice President of Chemistry at Oculogics

Pliant Therapeutics is combining world class expertise in TGF-β and integrin biology, medicinal chemistry, screening technology, and clinical insight to develop best-in-class, tissue specific inhibitors of fibrotic diseases.

Pliant’s product engine has the potential to address the needs of many patients by targeting fibrosis in a variety of organs and conditions, including the lungs (IPF), liver (NASH and cirrhosis), kidney (renal fibrosis), skin (scleroderma), heart (cardiac fibrosis) and the gastrointestinal tract (Crohn’s disease).

Product Engine

Pliant is entering the fibrosis space initially targeting idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a highly lethal and rare disease that currently affects approximately 200,000 people in the U.S., resulting in 40,000 deaths per year. Patients diagnosed with IPF experience progressive breathlessness and eventually, complete respiratory failure. Available courses of treatment are scarce, as there are currently no options on the market proven to have an effect on long-term patient survival or symptomatology.

In contrast to the few current FDA approved therapies that treat symptoms of fibrotic disorders, Pliant is targeting the two key mechanisms underlying the process of fibrosis: TGF-β activation and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). TGF-β is a key regulator of physiological healing and pathologic fibrosis, while EMT is the main driver for the inappropriate generation of activated fibroblasts from normal epithelial cells.

Pliant’s approach focuses on the antagonism of tissue-specific TGF-β signaling through integrin inhibition. Targeting TGF-β broadly has yielded undesirable systemic side effects. By targeting TGF-β signaling in a tissue-specific manner, Pliant will effectively modulate the fibrotic cascade, maximizing therapeutic effects while avoiding adverse events. In addition, Pliant is building a pipeline of cell-specific small molecule inhibitors of the pathological EMT process.

The dual approach of tissue-specific TGF-β antagonism and EMT inhibition provides a novel and potentially synergistic therapeutic option to treat fibrotic disorders.

Fibrosis, a pathologic feature of many diseases, is caused by a dysfunction in the body’s natural ability to repair damaged tissues. If left untreated, fibrosis can result in scarring of vital organs causing irreparable damage and eventual organ failure.

fibrosis

Pliant Therapeutics is currently pursuing drug development programs for a range of fibrotic diseases, focusing on tissue-specific integrin modulation and EMT inhibition.

  • Pliant’s lead program is a small molecule inhibitor for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) that modulates the αvβ1 integrin on fibroblasts. This integrin blocks the activation of TGF-β in a tissue-specific manner, thereby preventing the growth of fibrotic tissue within the lung. Pliant has entered into a license agreement with UCSF to expand this technology and expects to initiate company-sponsored IND-enabling studies for this program in 2017.
  • In addition to models of IPF, our small molecule inhibitor to the αvβ1 integrin has demonstrated potential to treat pathological liver and kidney fibrosis in animal models.
  • Pliant has additional programs in IPF leveraging small molecule inhibitors of integrins on epithelial cells as a second tissue-specific approach to modulating TGF-β activation. Epithelial cells have emerged as principal players in IPF pathophysiology, and our animal models confirm that selectively targeting TGF-β activation in these cells holds great therapeutic promise.
  • In parallel, Pliant is discovering and developing drug candidates for the treatment of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) by targeting tissue-specific integrins.
  • Pliant is also focused on developing small molecules to selectively target transcriptional regulation of epithelial-to-mesenchymal-transition (EMT), a process that is induced by TGF-β. By selectively targeting EMT, Pliant aims to target many fibrotic diseases through novel mechanisms, with IPF as its first indication.
Our Pipeline

Pliant Therapeutics is building a robust IPF patient registry and biomarker discovery engine.

Pliant is dedicating significant resources to build a patient registry which relies on a multi-center effort to collect clinical and laboratory data on individuals with IPF. Our registry aims to both expand knowledge of the natural progression of the disease and fuel biomarker discovery. Biomarker discovery efforts are focused on identifying and validating proteins or genes that can be used for early diagnosis, risk stratification, predicting response to therapy, and monitoring response to therapy. With this approach, we aim to design efficient clinical trials leveraging validated clinical endpoints.

IPF

Our mission is to transform the lives of patients. Join our team!

At Pliant Therapeutics, we recognize that our success depends on the excellence of our people. With this in mind, we are highly vested in the recruitment, training and development of our employees.

We are looking for exceptional candidates who are dedicated to our corporate values and are interested in being a part of a team that is committed to developing a pipeline of innovative therapeutics to treat major unmet medical needs.