Biotech innovator Kyn Therapeutics rebrands with new name from Catchword: Ikena

By Catchword

December 17, 2019

Kyn Therapeutics has rebranded this month with a new name from Catchword: Ikena Oncology.

“Ikena Oncology represents the growth and evolution of our vision, strategy, capabilities, and values,” president and CEO Mark Manfredi commented in a release. “As we launch our new corporate identity, we anticipate an exciting 2020 that includes multiple clinical and regulatory milestones.”

The Boston-based, clinical-stage biotechnology company, founded in 2016, discovers and develops patient-directed, biomarker-driven therapies for cancer patients who need life-saving treatment, by understanding what drives their disease. Ikena is currently advancing five programs.

The name Kyn was chosen when the company was founded to speak to the company’s breakthrough work around the kynurenine-degrading enzyme they called Kynase. But the company quickly expanded its explorations to more programs while continuing to develop Kynase. (Earlier this year, the company entered into a global strategic collaboration with Celgene Corporation, now Bristol-Myers Squibb, for the development of the Kynase program.)

“Mark Manfredi and his team envision a world where every cancer patient has a cure. Such an expansive vision needs to be matched with a big, aspirational name, rather than one that references a particular treatment,” Catchword creative director Erin Milnes explained.

Catchword recommended the elegant and many-layered Ikena, a Hawaiian word meaning “vista, perspective, knowledge.” It’s easy to say and remember, particularly for an international audience.

The name recalls “I ken,” suggesting the empowerment of understanding the individual patient, as well as “I can,” reflecting the company’s positive approach. And the “K” connects with the legacy of the names Kyn and Kynase.

Congratulations to Mark and the entire team at Ikena! It’s an honor and a pleasure to see names we have developed attached to such important work.




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