Zehna Therapeutics is an early stage biotech company focused on developing novel small molecules targeting specific gut microbial pathways to treat chronic diseases


Zehna Therapeutics is developing non-bactericidal inhibitors of selected gut microbial enzymes clinically and mechanistically linked with cardiometabolic diseases. Our lead compounds inhibit the gut microbial enzyme CutC lyase, preventing the conversion of dietary choline to trimethylamine (TMA) and subsequently to trimethylamine N-oxide (TMAO) within the host.

High systemic levels of TMAO have been linked to accelerated development of both cardiovascular and chronic kidney disease, as demonstrated in large-scale clinical cohort studies and extensive animal models of chronic metabolic diseases. Additionally, elevated TMAO, which often accompanies obesity, may contribute to sustained weight gain and promote renal oxidative stress and inflammation underlying obesity-associated chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is our lead indication.


Camilla V. Simpson Chief Executive Officer
Jerry Buysse, PhD Chief Scientific Officer
Robert Matunas, PhD Chemistry, Manufacturing & Control
Nihar Bhakta MD Consulting Chief Medical Officer




9 Apr 2024

Cleveland Clinic, Tufts University Research Ties Gut Microbial TMAO Pathway to Chronic Kidney Disease

New findings from Cleveland Clinic and Tufts University researchers show high blood levels of TMAO (trimethylamine N-oxide) predicts future risk of developing chronic kidney disease over time.

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8 Nov 2023

A Novel, Small Molecule Inhibitor of Gut Microbial CutC Slows the Loss of Kidney Function in a Rat Model of CKD

Presented at ASN by Jerry Buysse, Robert Matunas, Camilla V. Simpson. Zehna Therapeutics Inc., San Francisco, CA, United States

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6 Sep 2023

Targeting Microbes to Treat Heart Disease

Deep in the recesses of the gut, they wait, ready to devour whatever comes their way. The microbes that live in the human intestines are not picky; their food is our food. But what we decide to eat — whether a greasy cheeseburger or a beet salad — determines not just the microbes’ health but our own.

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Targeted Inhibition of Gut Microbial Trimethylamine N-Oxide Production Reduces Renal Tubulo…

Basic Sciences

May 2020

Development Of A Gut Microbe–Targeted Nonlethal Therapeutic To Inhibit Thrombosis Potential

Nature Medicine

September 2018

Gut Flora Metabolism Of Phosphatidylcholine Promotes Cardiovascular Disease


April 2011