Geron is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing a first-in-class telomerase inhibitor, imetelstat, in hematologic myeloid malignancies. Imetelstat is currently being tested in two clinical trials: IMbark™, a Phase 2 trial in myelofibrosis (MF) and IMerge™, a Phase 2/3 trial in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS). These clinical trials are being conducted by Janssen Biotech, Inc., under a collaboration and license agreement, in which Janssen were granted the exclusive rights to develop and commercialize imetelstat worldwide for all indications in oncology, including hematologic myeloid malignancies, and all other human therapeutic uses.
Telomerase is an enzyme that enables cancer cells, including malignant progenitor cells, to maintain telomere length, which provides them with the capacity for limitless, uncontrolled proliferation. Using Geron’s proprietary nucleic acid chemistry, imetelstat was designed as an oligonucleotide that targets and binds with high affinity to the active site of telomerase, thereby directly inhibiting telomerase activity and impeding malignant cell proliferation. Early clinical data, including molecular responses in essential thrombocythemia (ET) and remissions, including reversal of bone marrow fibrosis in MF, suggest imetelstat may have disease-modifying activity by inhibiting the progenitor cells of the malignant clones for the underlying diseases.