Translating RNA-based discoveries into innovative products
SomaGenics strives to develop innovative therapeutics and diagnostics that address unmet medical needs. 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.
Drug targets that can be inhibited by conventional therapeutic modalities—small molecule inhibitors and antibodies—are being heavily exploited. Realizing the potential of “undruggable” targets, SomaGenics has focused on the RNA interference (RNAi) approach, the discovery of which was recognized by the Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine in 2006. RNAi opens the possibility of targeting any RNA or protein target, including those considered to be undruggable by conventional means. SomaGenics has developed a potent RNAi platform called sshRNA (synthetic short hairpin RNA). The sshRNA consists of a single RNA chain and has several advantages over conventional small interfering RNA (siRNA) and small hairpin (shRNA) structures used by others.
Diagnostics: Small RNA assays and biomarker validation
Detection and monitoring of biomarkers is increasingly important in
drug development, diagnosis, and selecting and following treatment.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a
class of small RNAs that regulate gene expression through RNA
interference, are increasingly of interest as potential biomarkers of
Somagenics has focused on developing technologies for detecting and quantifying small RNAs such as miRNAs. miR-ID® is a versatile platform that provides sensitive and highly specific measurements of small RNAs. The miR-ID platform has been adapted for convenient detection of circulating miRNAs (miR-Direct TM), and a version has also been developed for the reliable detection of fragments of larger RNAs such as messenger RNAs from fresh and fixed tissue samples.
These technologies enable the validation of RNA biomarker candidates and reliable testing for validated markers.
For biomarker discovery, Somagenics is developing improved next generation sequencing (NGS) methods for unbiased miRNA expression profiling.