Bakar Labs Tenant Spotlight on Inapill: A Novel Approach to Interrupting Inflammation

By Niki Borghei.

Venkat Reddy, Greg Timblin, Ingrid Caton & David Moffat
Venkat Reddy (General Inception, CSO), Greg Timblin (Inapill, CEO), Ingrid Caton (Program/Project Manager), and David Moffat (General Inception, VP Chemistry).

If you were diagnosed with a disease such as arthritis, colitis, or psoriasis, your first reaction probably wouldn’t be to blame your immune system. After all, it’s the human body’s greatest defense! But when immune cells become overactive and damage the body, we can indeed blame our immune system.

Greg Timblin, co-founder and CEO of Inapill Inc., one of Bakar Labs’ newest tenants, has moved past blame. He’s taking action. Greg and the Inapill team are developing therapeutics to treat diseases caused by immune system overactivation and excessive inflammation.

Inapill’s prospective therapies combine the benefits of familiar non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs, which are affordable, safe, orally-available small molecule drugs), with the potency of stronger anti-inflammatories such as corticosteroids or biologics (e.g. Humira). NSAIDs sometimes aren’t strong enough to provide patient relief, and stronger anti-inflammatories have their own drawbacks. For example, corticosteroids are not safe for long-term use, and more expensive biologics are prone to patient non-responsiveness or resistance. Patient non-compliance is also a problem since they require injection. That’s where Greg comes in: his drugs promise to be safe, affordable, easy to take, and effective.

Greg and his team have found a way to prevent immune cells from causing inflammation in the first place. They discovered an immunometabolic pathway that, when blocked with orally-available small molecule inhibitors, prevents the immune cells from producing inflammation-driving molecules called cytokines and chemokines. Notably, their treatment doesn’t just stop production of just one type of proinflammatory cytokine or chemokine, but a whole program of them. The ability of Inapill’s approach to block an entire inflammatory cascade represents a significant improvement over drugs such as NSAIDs and anti-inflammatory biologics, which target a single pathway or molecule involved in inflammation.

“We hope this new oral therapeutic targeting proinflammatory immunometabolism will have ‘pipeline-in-a-pill’ potential,” he says. “Once it garners FDA approval in one inflammatory indication, it could be used in the clinic as a treatment across multiple inflammatory diseases. Perhaps it could even provide benefit to patients with more complex diseases where excessive inflammation is thought to be a driving factor, such as cardiometabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.”

After receiving pre-seed funding from General Inception (GI), Inapill is now gearing up to garner critical proof of concept data that will fuel their seed funding by the end of 2024. They have an exciting journey ahead, but Greg emphasizes that none of this would be possible without his support system.

“I owe an enormous debt of gratitude to my friend and co-founder Josh Farahzad,” Greg says. “I’m very fortunate our pitch caught the attention of the therapeutics team at GI. Because GI Therapeutics CSO Venkat Reddy and Chemistry VP David Moffat recognized the potential in Inapill’s approach, it gave me a lot of confidence that we were on the right track.”

Along with project manager Ingrid Caton, David and Venkat are now key parts of the Inapill team. As a largely virtual company, they have key collaborators and advisors across the globe, including Dalriada Drug Discovery (based in Toronto, Canada), and clinician-scientist Dr. Hal Hoffman at UC San Diego (an autoinflammatory disease expert).

Although Greg is currently the only Inapill employee at the bench at Bakar Labs, he has felt tremendously supported by the Bakar Labs team.

“The people, particularly the admin and support staff, are incredible. They have been so
welcoming and accommodating in helping me get my lab space set up and feeling at home in a world-class incubator space,” he says, echoing Bakar Labs’ mission to create a supportive community that extends beyond laboratory walls and help innovative companies like Inapill make life-changing impact.