Viral pandemics are increasingly common and a not-so-far away scenario of climate change will favor them more and more. Therefore, having a rapid antiviral design tool available to the scientific community would be very useful to deal with them.
NoctuRNA Therapeutics, a new spin-off of the Molecular Virology Research Group of the Department of Medicine and Life Sciences at Pompeu Fabra University (MELIS-UPF), has been created precisely to generate circular RNA-based antivirals at unprecedented speed.
“Thanks to NoctuRNA Therapeutics’ technology, a family of drugs is being developed with an innovative mechanism of action that represents a great improvement over other options on the market”
Juana Díez, MELIS-UPF
The new platform, which follows 7 years of research, will design broad-spectrum drugs against RNA viruses thanks to its own software based on artificial intelligence. The antivirals will be targeted directly to the viral genome, improving their efficacy and stability and reducing the appearance of viral resistance and the chances of suffering unwanted effects. It will also be a very versatile tool: the team is currently studying, in the preclinical phase, liver viruses (hepatitis C and E) and respiratory viruses (such as SARS-CoV-2). And they are even developing a circular RNA for the treatment of a genetic disease (and therefore not caused by viruses), DM1 diabetes.
In addition to its speed (antivirals will be obtained in less than a month after sequencing the virus genome), NoctuRNA Therapeutics stands out for its therapeutic rather than preventive approach, as is the case with other companies in the market that focus on vaccines.