Translating RNA-based discoveries into innovative products
SomaGenics strives to develop innovative therapeutics and diagnostics through creativity and scientific rigor. In its pursuit to help advance the understanding and the treatment of human diseases, the company focuses on RNA molecules as therapeutic targets and biomarkers.
Most drug targets that can be inhibited by the conventional therapeutic modalities – small molecule inhibitors and antibodies- have already been explored. By realizing the potential of so called “undruggable” targets, SomaGenics has focused its efforts in the RNA interference (RNAi) approach, the discovery of which claimed the Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine in 2006 with the anticipation that the technology would revolutionize the drug discovery process and also open access to a plethora of new targets. To establish RNAi as a novel therapeutic modality, a number of companies began developing small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) as potential therapeutic platforms. SomaGenics has developed a novel RNAi platform called sshRNA (synthetic short hairpin RNA), which is different from the conventional siRNAs and shRNAs. The sshRNA platform overcomes some of the challenges that hindered RNAi to reach its potential as a proven therapeutic modality. SomaGenics' lead therapeutic programs use the sshRNA platform to target viral hepatitis.
The application of biomarkers is becoming an important aspect during the drug development process as well in diagnosing human diseases and monitoring treatment outcomes. A class of short RNAs called microRNAs (miRNAs) regulates gene expression through the natural RNAi process. Recently, miRNAs have been discovered as potential biomarkers for human diseases. Somagenics has focused on developing technologies for detecting miRNAs, especially those found in various biological fluids, to facilitate the discovery and validation of miRNA-based biomarkers. One of the company’s novel diagnostic platforms, miR-ID®, is a versatile microRNA detection platform that has been adapted to detect microRNAs from biological fluids. Several other technologies, including improved methods for next generation sequencing (NGS) for miRNA expression profiling(miR-DirectTM), are also being developed by SomaGenics.