DNA

Pioneering tRNA therapeutics to modulate mRNA function and cure a broad range of genetic diseases

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 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.

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 therapies with the potential to provide durable cures for many rare diseases.

Suppressor tRNAs

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.

Enhancer tRNAs

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.

THERAPEUTIC FOCUS

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.

LEADERSHIP TEAM

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

Harvey Lodish, Ph.D.

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

Warren Lammert

Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board

Jeffery Coller, Ph.D.

Scientific Co-Founder, Scientific Advisor

Paul Schimmel, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor, Board Member

Daniel Fischer

Co-Founder, President and CEO, Board Member

Susan Ackerman, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Nicholas Ingolia, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

David Liu, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Ben Deverman, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Gopi Shanker, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Stephen Farr

Board Member

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

Scientific Advisor

Orrin Devinsky, M.D.

Scientific Advisor, Board Member

Jeffrey Walsh

Board Member

Geoffrey Pitt, M.D., Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Al George, Ph.D.

Scientific Advisor

Daniel Lazzari, MBA

VP of Finance

Lita Nelsen

Advisor

Michael Jasulavic

Board Member

Peter Eimon, Ph.D.

Associate Director Research

News

Apr 26 2022

Tevard CEO Awarded Henri Termeer Fellowship

The Termeer Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on connecting life science innovators and catalyzing the creation of new medicines, has named Tevard CEO and co-founder Daniel Fischer as a member of the Class of 2022 Henri Termeer Fellows. The Henri Termeer Fellowship honors “emerging leaders within the life science industry who have shown initial promise […]

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Mar 31 2022

Tevard Biosciences licenses mRNA Amplifier technology from Johns Hopkins University

New platform provides additional avenue for treating severe genetic diseases, joins Tevard’s tRNA-based platforms in broadly applicable suite of technologies   Tevard Biosciences, the pioneer of tRNA-based treatments for severe genetic diseases, today announced an agreement to exclusively license “mRNA Amplifier” technology from the Johns Hopkins University. The technology will help form the basis of […]

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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 therapies to transform patients’ and families’ lives.

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

Current career opportunities