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RNA Meds Companies Partner on Human, Animal Vaccines

RNA molecule illustration

RNA molecule illustration (Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation)

31 October 2017. Synthetic Genomics Inc. and Arcturus Therapeutics Inc. are collaborating on longer-lasting and more robust RNA therapies and vaccines for humans and animals. In a separate deal, Synthetic Genomics, based in San Diego, is partnering with animal health company Ceva Santé Animale in Libourne, France on RNA-based vaccines.

Synthetic Genomics develops engineered therapeutics and vaccines, where the company says its application of high-powered bioinformatics provides insights into the design of artificial genomic materials, including derivatives of RNA. These RNA derivatives, called replicons, provide instructions to cells from the genetic code in DNA to produce proteins, in this case, antigens that stimulate an immune response against disease targets. The company says RNA replicons can self-replicate and amplify, and carry multiple antigens, if needed, stimulating a stronger T-cell response in the immune system.

The deal with Arcturus Therapeutics, also in San Diego, gives Synthetic Genomics an exclusive license to Arcturus’s RNA delivery technology. That technology is Lipid-enabled and Unlocked Nucleomonomer Agent modified RNA, or Lunar, one of the company’s core products. Lunar makes it possible to deliver RNA therapeutics systemically to tissues.

Synthetic Genomics says it plans to use the Lunar technology in both therapies and vaccines. The technology is expected to provide RNA replicons with more protection against degrading, giving therapies a longer lifetime, and in the case of vaccines, longer-term preventive effects.

Under the deal, Arcturus Therapeutics is receiving an initial payment from Synthetic Genomics, as well as support for further research and development. Arcturus will also be eligible for preclinical, development, and sales milestone payments, and royalties on sales of products developed under the agreement. Dollar amounts of these payments were not disclosed.

In the separate deal with Ceva Santé Animale the two companies plan to collaborate on development of RNA-based vaccines for livestock. No further details about the agreement were released.

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