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Flagship Pioneering has officially launched Alltrna, a company planning to combat genetic diseases with transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) medicine.
Flagship Pioneering, the firm that founded Moderna and many other companies in the health sector, announced on Nov. 9, 2021, that it would be officially launching a transfer ribonucleic acid (tRNA) platform company, Alltrna. Founded at Flagship Labs in 2018, Alltrna has mapped tRNA biology to design tRNA medicines for various diseases driven by genetic mutations. Flagship has made an initial commitment of $50 million to Alltrna.
According to a company press release, various diseases stem from the same nonsense mutation, where the code for an amino acid has mutated into a “stop” codon. This results in a truncated or shortened protein product that is at the root of many genetic diseases. To combat this, Alltrna has designed a tRNA that can read these stop codons and deliver the desired amino acid, restoring production of the correct, full-length protein. If successful, a single tRNA medicine could treat various diseases with the same underlying genetic mutation.
"Alltrna builds on the more than decade long exploration, conducted at Flagship Labs, focusing on the RNA world as a source of programmable therapeutic modalities," said Noubar Afeyan, co-founder and chairman of Alltrna and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, in the press release. "With Alltrna's platform we are leveraging tRNAs as the critical gatekeepers of protein production to target our central translation code for unprecedented therapeutic effect."
According to the press release, Alltrna's tRNA platform harnesses the combinatorial potential of the hundred-plus different modifications possible at each nucleotide position. The stable structure, small size, and diversity of tRNAs make them ideal candidates for therapeutic treatments.
"We have built the world's first tRNA therapeutic platform by combining the extensive learnings at Flagship in RNA design and delivery with a reinforced learning framework that unlocks the relationship of tRNA modality to biological output, disease application, and drug design," said Lovisa Afzelius, origination partner at Flagship Pioneering and founding CEO of Alltrna, in the press release. "Since the company's founding, we have established a deep understanding of tRNA biology and its diverse combinatorial modifications to systematically design, program, and deliver tRNAs to correct disease."
Source: Flagship Pioneering