Harvey Lodish, Ph.D.
Co-Founder, Chair of the SAB, and Board Member
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.
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 platforms that could cure not only Dravet, but many other rare diseases caused by having only one healthy copy of a gene leads to insufficient protein productionhaploinsufficiency and/or substitution of a single nucleotide produces a premature stop codon, leading to truncated, non-functional proteinsnonsense 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 SCNIA gene cannot be delivered by common viral vectors. What’s more, over-expressing SCN1A can have deleterious effects. Therefore, Dravet—like many other genetic diseases—is not amenable to traditional gene therapy approaches.
We have developed two unique tRNA-based therapies with the potential to provide durable cures for many rare diseases.
For diseases caused by nonsense mutations. By using a viral vector to express a patented tRNA in targeted cells, we insert the normal amino acid at the site of the premature stop codon, generating a normal functional protein. Because many diseases share same premature stop codon, the same Suppressor tRNA can treat multiple diseases.
For diseases caused by haploinsufficiency. By using a viral vector to overexpress a unique combination of endogenous 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.
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 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 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.
Our lead CNS indication is Dravet syndrome, for which we are currently pursuing a dual approach: using Enhancer tRNAs Stabilization to increase expression of the healthy copy of SCN1A and using Suppressor tRNAs to allow production of full-length protein off the faulty copy of the gene.
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.
Tevard has assembled a team of scientific, clinical, and industry leaders to drive tRNA therapies to patients in a timeframe that matters.
Co-Founder, Chair of the SAB, and Board Member
Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board
Scientific Co-Founder, Scientific Advisor
Co-Founder, President and CEO, Board Member
Scientific Advisor, Board Member
Scientific Advisor, Board Observer
VP of Therapeutic Development
VP of Finance
Associate Director Research
Principal Research Scientist
Tevard Biosciences, Inc., the pioneer of tRNA-based therapies for severe genetic diseases, today announced a four-year global research collaboration with Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated aimed at creating new tRNA-based therapies for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) caused by nonsense mutations with options to expand into additional muscular dystrophies and a second indication. The agreement provides […]
Leading tRNA researcher joins Tevard’s efforts to transform tRNAs into novel treatments for serious genetic diseases CAMBRIDGE, Mass., August 3, 2022 Tevard Biosciences, the pioneer of tRNA-based therapies for severe genetic diseases, today announced the appointment of leading tRNA scientist Zoya Ignatova, Ph.D, to its scientific advisory board. “Dr. Ignatova’s work has profoundly impacted our […]
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 therapies to transform patients’ and families’ lives.
Associate Director – Bioinformatics
Associate Director – Process Development and CMC
Program and Alliance Manager
Research Associate – in vivo Pharmacology
Research Associate – mRNA Biology
Research Scientist – in vivo pharmacology
Research Scientist – mRNA Biology