Christian Kinney on Therapy X
June 15, 2018 | Alexandra Squires, MBA
Christian Kinney, a Ph.D. Candidate in the Graduate Program in Life Sciences Molecular Medicine program and Meyerhoff Graduate Fellow (in the Meyerhoff Graduate Fellows Program), participated in The Grid Pitch last month. Kinney pitched his therapeutic invention, Therapy X, to an audience of 80-90 people at The Grid, an entrepreneurial space here on the UMB campus. Kinney’s one-man team, Inducent Therapeutics, along with five other teams from across schools, presented their innovative concepts to the crowd to each win a $1,000 stipend toward their professional development.
Kinney completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Georgia, where he majored in Genetics. Throughout his time here at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, his research focus has shifted from an initial interest in the genetics of muscular dystrophy, to a greater interest in genomics and gene therapies in Dr. Robert Bloch’s lab.
Therapy X is a drug platform for the treatment of chronic illnesses. As Kinney explains, many chronic illnesses are currently treated with injected biologics that are often “a pain and a hassle for patients” who require frequent injections. For example, in Gaucher disease, a genetic disorder that results in a deficiency of the enzyme beta-glucocerebrosidase, patients require biologic injections twice a month to treat the disease. The biologic would be loaded into Therapy X allowing for the indefinite production of medicine in the patient. After 1-3 rounds of Therapy X, the patient could stop taking the biologic, freeing the patient from bi-monthly injections, presumably, forever. Right now, Kinney is focusing his efforts on diseases that are treated with enzyme replacement therapies, but notes that someday, potentially decades down the road, would like to implement this type of therapeutic with diabetes.
What’s the next step after the Grid Pitch?
Kinney is currently working with UM Ventures to file a provisional patent on Therapy X. As a person who has been interested in entrepreneurship for some time, he would like to grow his team by networking with other individuals interested in his project.
Where does Kinney see himself in five years?
Kinney hopes to graduate in Spring 2019. In order to satiate his desire to be an entrepreneur but mitigate the risk, he feels that joining a start-up where he can work on these therapeutics, and even his own project, would be ideal.
Alexandra Squires, MBA
Program Specialist, Graduate Program in Life Sciences