Innovate UK Awards Grant to MiNA Therapeutics and LGC LINK
LGC LINK, the oligonucleotide synthesis reagent manufacturing part of LGC's Genomics division, and MiNA Therapeutics, the pioneer in RNA activation therapeutics, today announced that Innovate UK has awarded the two companies a grant to develop liver targeted gene activation therapies for the treatment of liver diseases. The grant of up to approximately £400,000, with additional funding from MiNA and LGC LINK, will support a two-year research project.
Small activating RNAs (saRNAs) are an emerging class of medicines that restore normal function to patients’ cells by activating expression of specific genes. In 2016 MiNA Therapeutics initiated the OUTREACH Phase I clinical study of lead program, MTL-CEBPA, in severe liver cancer. LGC LINK has developed cutting edge chemistry and linker technologies to enable the targeted delivery of RNA compounds to liver cells.
If successful, the research project may enable the future discovery of liver targeted saRNA drug candidates with distinct benefits over those currently in development including a more convenient route of administration and a broader therapeutic safety window. Under the terms of the collaboration MiNA will have exclusive use of the results for oligonucleotide approaches that activate gene expression. LGC LINK will have exclusive use of the results for oligonucleotide approaches that inhibit gene expression.
“We are extremely pleased to be selected by Innovate UK for this prestigious grant,” commented David Blakey, CSO of MiNA Therapeutics. “We are excited to work with LGC LINK to expand the possibilities of saRNAs for the treatment of liver diseases.”
Catherine McKeen, Head of Chemistry of LGC LINK said, "Oligonucleotide therapeutics have always been of particular interest at LINK. This exciting collaboration with MiNA Therapeutics enables us to further develop modifiers and linkers to improve targeted delivery and cellular uptake of RNA oligonucleotide based drugs.”
This grant is part of the Biomedical Catalyst scheme funded by Innovate UK, The Medical Research Council and Scottish Enterprise.