DNA

Developing lifelong cures for patients with rare genetic diseases

We are pioneering tRNA-based gene therapies to treat severe genetic diseases not amenable to traditional types of gene therapy

Our Story

Tevard Biosciences was founded by renowned MIT molecular cell biologist Professor Harvey Lodish, along with Daniel Fischer and Warren Lammert, parents of children with Dravet syndrome, with the goal of developing novel gene therapy approaches to cure this and many other types of genetic diseases.

Tevard (tā-vərd)
reversing Dravet…

stories

Setting out to find revolutionary approaches to cure patients with Dravet, Harvey, together with the research labs of Professors Jeff Coller and Chris Ahern, invented two unique tRNA-based gene therapy platforms that could cure not only Dravet, but many other rare diseases caused by haploinsufficiency and/or nonsense mutations.

Dravet syndrome is a rare and severe form of epilepsy that affects approximately 1 in 16,000 individuals. In 85% of cases, Dravet is caused by a loss-of-function mutation in one copy (haploinsufficiency) of the SCN1A gene. Over 20% of Dravet causing mutations are premature stop codons, causing production of a nonfunctional protein fragment.

Due to its large size, the SCN1A gene cannot be delivered by common viral vectors, and if overexpressed, can have deleterious effects. Therefore, Dravet—like many other genetic diseases—is not amenable to traditional gene therapy approaches.

RECIPIENT OF THE 2018 PFIZER GOLDEN TICKET

Early on, Tevard was a recipient of Pfizer’s coveted Golden Ticket award, recognizing the company’s “overall vision clarity, quality of the science and the passion and personal meaning behind the research.”

Our Science

We have developed two unique tRNA-based gene therapies with the potential to provide durable cures for many rare diseases.

mRNA Stabilization

For diseases caused by haploinsufficiency – By using a viral vector to overexpress a unique combination of endogenous or mutated tRNAs in targeted cells, we increase the amount of protein produced by the wild-type (functional) copy of the specific gene to its normal level by increasing the stability and thus the half-life of its mRNA.

Codon Suppression

For diseases caused by nonsense mutations – By using a viral vector to express a patented tRNA in targeted cells, we repair the bad copy of the gene by inserting the normal amino acid at the site of the premature stop codon, generating a normal functional protein.

Many of the defective genes we repair must be expressed at precise and different levels in different types of body cells. Both of our approaches are highly gene selective and restore the expression of the gene to its normal levels appropriate for each type of cell.

Our technologies function regardless of the position of the mutation in the gene. They do not involve modifying the cell’s regulatory elements or introducing foreign genetic regulator elements – procedures utilized in all other types of gene therapies.

Tevard has exclusively licensed key IP from the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research at MIT, Case Western Reserve University, The Wistar Institute, and the University of Iowa.

THERAPEUTIC FOCUS

Our lead CNS indication is Dravet syndrome, for which we are currently pursuing a dual approach: mRNA Stabilization to increase expression of the healthy copy of SCN1A and Codon Suppression to correct the faulty copy of the gene (when mutations create premature stop codons).

Closely following our Dravet program , we are developing cures for other genetic epilepsies and CNS indications.

Beyond CNS we are also pursuing non-CNS indications caused by haploinsufficiency and/or nonsense mutations.

An estimated 300 to 1000 diseases are caused by haploinsufficiency, where a single functional copy of a gene is insufficient for normal function, and 1800 diseases are the result of nonsense mutations, in total, affecting millions of patients world-wide.

LEADERSHIP TEAM

Tevard has assembled a team of scientific, clinical, and industry leaders to drive tRNA gene therapies to patients in a timeframe that matters.

Harvey Lodish, Ph.D.

Co-Founder, Chair of the SAB, and Board Member

Daniel Fischer

Co-Founder, President and CEO, Board Member

Gopi Shanker, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Warren Lammert

Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board

David Liu, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Jeffery Coller, Ph.D.

Scientific Co-Founder, Scientific Advisor

Christopher Ahern, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Ben Deverman, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Lita Nelsen

Advisor

Orrin Devinsky, M.D.

Scientific Advisor, Board Member

Annapurna Poduri, M.D., M.P.H

Scientific Advisor

Jeffrey Walsh

Board Member

Michael Jasulavic

Board Member

Peter Eimon, Ph. D.

Principal Scientist

News

May 19 2021

Tevard Biosciences Appoints Gopi Shanker, Ph.D., as Chief Scientific Officer

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Tevard Biosciences, a privately-held biotechnology company pioneering tRNA-based gene therapies for rare and severe genetic diseases, today announced the appointment of Gopi Shanker, Ph.D., as Chief Scientific Officer and as a member of the company’s executive leadership team. With more than 20 years of experience in industry and […]

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Dec 03 2020

Tevard Biosciences and Zogenix Announce Collaboration to Advance Novel Gene Therapies for Dravet Syndrome and Other Genetic Epilepsies

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. and EMERYVILLE, Calif., Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Tevard Biosciences, a privately-held biotechnology company pioneering tRNA-based gene therapies, and Zogenix (Nasdaq: ZGNX), a global biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing rare disease therapies, today announced that the companies have entered into a collaboration to identify and develop novel tRNA-based gene therapies for Dravet syndrome and other genetic epilepsies. Read More

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CAREERS

At Tevard we are looking for highly-qualified and passionate professionals to join our team. As a member of our team you will become a part of our mission to develop novel tRNA-based gene therapies to transform patients’ and families’ lives.

Current career opportunities

For career related inquiries please contact us at careers@tevard.com