Over 4,000 diseases are caused by errors in the human genetic code that lead to defective or reduced protein production. With therapeutic RNA, genes that lead to defective protein production can be deactivated through invasive RNAi molecules, while mRNA can be administered to create beneficial proteins. However, in order to have a therapeutic effect, the RNA must reach the appropriate targeted cells”. And this is where the challenges arise.
RNA is extremely unstable and therefore the chances of reaching the targeted cells are little. Current approaches allow the delivery of RNA to a limited number of tissues, such as the liver using lipid particles.
And the Covid-19 pandemic may have put RNA in our daily vocabulary through vaccines, but the RNA therapeutics sector has not yet been able to meet the challenge of broadly targeting cells and tissues by remaining focused on liver diseases.
Sixfold Bioscience‘s multidisciplinary team of chemists, biologists and pharmacists has set out to redefine the future of RNA by safely targeting tissues other than the liver with potential applications in thousands of diseases. For this purpose, the company managed to raise 10,5 million dollars funding by important investors such as: Y Combinator, Cantos Ventures, Lombard Street and Pi Campus, Angel, but also non-dilutive funding from Wellcome Leap, and innovation funds of the British state and the EU. This biotechnology company was founded in 2017 and is headquartered at the Translation and Innovation Hub in White City, London.
“At Sixfold we are developing Mergo technology to direct RNA to specific target cells. The Mergo system is made of nano-elements, which we assemble like Lego, but on a very small scale. Each structural element gives Mergo medicinal properties that will lead it to a different target cell. The structural elements are first assembled digitally, with the help of the computing platform developed by the company, and then we manufacture them using high-performance chemistry,” explains Dr. Ioanna Mylonaki, leading the pre-clinical research team.
Dr. Perdrix Rosell and Dr. George Foot, co-founders and CEO of Sixfold, estimate that the amount is large enough for the company to be able to expand the platform to many therapeutic indications. Sixfold for 2022 has set out to explore partnerships with selected pharmaceutical companies.
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