Pliant Therapeutics Announces Research Collaboration with Cleveland Clinic to Develop New Disease Targets for Gastrointestinal Fibrosis

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA — September 6, 2018 — Pliant Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on discovering, developing and commercializing treatments for fibrotic diseases, today announced that they have entered into a multi-year joint research collaboration with Cleveland Clinic to accelerate the discovery of potential disease targets for gastrointestinal fibrosis.

Pliant researchers will collaborate with Florian Rieder, M.D. and colleagues from the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Cleveland Clinic to gain new insights into the mechanisms of intestinal fibrogenesis, an emerging area of research spurred by the need for specific anti-fibrotic therapies. The collaborators will utilize primary human cells, tissues and organ culture systems as well as novel animal models of intestinal fibrosis to identify and validate new druggable targets for fibrosis of the gut that results from conditions such as Crohn’s disease.

“We are pleased to work alongside Cleveland Clinic and together contribute to its legacy of achieving meaningful research breakthroughs that ultimately benefit patients,” said Scott Turner, Ph.D., Vice President Translational Sciences at Pliant Therapeutics. “We continue to embrace innovation-minded collaborations that move forward the fibrotic disease space as whole.”

Fibrotic stricturing of the bowel, a common occurrence for patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease, is primarily treated through an invasive surgical approach. A novel therapeutic approach would prevent this scarring from its inevitable return, leading to a better quality of life for patients.

Drug development for fibrotic stricturing is hampered by a lack of disease targets, and as a leader in this space, Pliant aims to alleviate this roadblock by leveraging its fibrosis drug discovery engine, translational models and Cleveland Clinic’s invaluable expertise as a world-renowned center of excellence for digestive diseases.

“Understanding the underlying biology of gastrointestinal fibrosis is the key first step in pursuing a viable treatment option for patients,” said Dr. Rieder, associate staff in the Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at Cleveland Clinic. “We are hopeful that our vast research expertise coupled with Pliant’s drug discovery capabilities will translate early stage science into novel medicines for patients.”

About Pliant Therapeutics

Pliant Therapeutics is a biotechnology company unraveling and targeting the key biological pathways driving fibrosis. By leveraging its powerful product discovery engine, Pliant’s mission is to develop novel therapeutics that seek to halt progression of fibrotic diseases, ultimately preserving organ function. Founded by a group of seasoned experts in fibrosis biology, medicinal chemistry and translational medicine, Pliant expects to initiate clinical trials with its lead product candidate PLN-74809 in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis in late 2018, with additional programs to advance into the clinic in 2019. For more information, please visit www.pliantrx.com.

Media Contact:
Cambria Fuqua
Canale Communications
(619) 849-5390
cambria@canalecomm.com