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 Tevard’s third platform for addressing diseases in which a mutation has caused a reduction in or loss of a vital protein.
The technology, created in the lab of Jeff Coller, Ph.D., a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is designed specifically to help people whose gene mutation has resulted in insufficient levels of a crucial protein, despite the patient having a healthy copy of the gene—a condition known as haploinsufficiency. Coller is a scientific co-founder of Tevard.
“People afflicted by a haploinsufficient disease are already making the protein they need, just not enough of it,” said Tevard Chief Scientific Officer Gopi Shanker, Ph.D. “By targeting the mRNA from the healthy gene copy, we aim to amplify protein production back to normal levels,” he said.
Modulating the function of mRNAs—molecular intermediaries between genes and the proteins they encode—is at the heart of all three of Tevard’s drug platforms. While the company’s first two platforms employ RNA-based molecules called tRNAs, the new mRNA Amplifier platform is based around specially engineered proteins.
“mRNA modulation offers the possibility of profoundly improving or even curing a number of very serious genetic diseases without some of the technical limitations and risks of modalities like gene therapy, gene editing, and oligonucleotides,” said Tevard co-founder Harvey Lodish, Ph.D., who chairs the company’s SAB and sits on its board of directors.
“We believe mRNA Amplifiers will be a key tool in a suite of mRNA modulation technologies that will make a real difference for people living with severe genetic diseases,” said Daniel Fischer, Tevard’s co-founder, president, and CEO.
About Tevard Biosciences
Tevard Biosciences is pioneering mRNA-modulating therapies to cure a broad range of genetic diseases. The privately held biotechnology company was founded by MIT Professor and Whitehead Institute Founding Member Harvey Lodish, with life science entrepreneurs and executives Daniel Fischer and Warren Lammert, fathers of children with rare genetic diseases, and scientific co-founder Jeff Coller, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Tevard is exploring the use of its novel Suppressor tRNA, Enhancer tRNA, and mRNA Amplifier platforms in neurological disorders, heart disease, and muscular dystrophies; the company has partnered with Zogenix to develop therapies for Dravet syndrome and other genetic epilepsies. For more information, please visit tevard.com.
Dr. Coller is a paid consultant to and holds equity in Tevard. Dr. Coller is an inventor on a patent for the mRNA regulation therapy for the treatment of haploinsufficiency disorders. Under a license agreement between Tevard Biosciences and the Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Coller, and the University are entitled to royalty distributions related to the technology referenced in this press release. These arrangements have been reviewed and approved by the Johns Hopkins University in accordance with its conflict-of-interest policies.