RNA-Modifying Proteins May Provide New Drug Targets

Startup Accent Therapeutics Raises $40 million to investigate.

The new technology being developed by Cambridge startup Accent Therapeutics is completely different from existing drug development efforts concentrated around RNA. According to the company’s Chief Scientific Officer, Accent is not developing drugs that target RNA or that bind to RNA or that include RNA in their formulations. Their technology is based on small-molecule inhibitors of enzymes that modify RNA.

Because RNA determines the make-up of cells, proteins and enzymes that modify RNA have a direct impact on the functioning of cells. There is, in fact, recent evidence to suggest that RNA-modifying proteins place a role in some cancers. Accent was founded to develop drugs that target these enzymes.

Cofounders of the company include Howard Chang of Stanford University and Chuan He of the University of Chicago, two experts in the field of epitranscriptomics and its role in human diseases. They have attracted the attention of investors. Accent Therapeutics recently raised $40 million in Series A funding to launch the company. The top investors include The Column Group, Atlas Venture and EcoR1 Capital. The company is initially focusing on four targets in both hematological cancers and solid tumors and plans to begin preclinical testing.

 

Guy Tiene

Guy supports the success of life science organizations by identifying synergies across research, content, marketing and communications resources to drive value for clients. With over 30 years of education and marketing experience and 18 years in the life sciences alone, Guy leads our editorial standards for client content, Pharma’s Almanac and Nice Insight research-based industry content as well as external communications for clients. Having served as head of global marketing and communications for a CMO, he also brings critical insight and guidance to all communications. Guy holds a Masters degree from Columbia University.