Moirai Biodesign launches a best-in-class software for the design of complex RNA molecules
RNA, or ribonucleic acid, molecules are absolutely essential for life. They transport and express the genetic information encoded in the DNA, playing a key role in almost all cellular functions. Our ability to design new RNA molecules is therefore directly related to our ability to control gene expression and regulate these cellular functions.
It is for this reason that, in the recent years, scientists have raced to design and create new synthetic RNA molecules (RNA molecules that are synthesized in the laboratory) and to improving the computational tools to perform this task, in order to reduce the time and cost of developing new diagnostic and therapeutic technologies.
A revolution in Biosciences
The therapeutic application of synthetic RNA is very innovative and has great medical and pharmacological potential, as it opens the door to a new generation of targeted therapies for certain pathologies -neurological, congenital, oncological, neurodegenerative, etc.- as well as for the development of new antibiotics and vaccines. Although mRNA-based (messenger RNA) vaccines are the best-known therapeutic application today, there are many other RNA molecules for therapeutic purposes, such as siRNAs (small interfering RNAs) or ASOs (AntiSense Oligonucleotides).
“One of the greatest advantages of synthetic RNA therapeutic approaches is the ability to adapt quickly to new pathogens or diseases. Recently, a large number of articles have been published regarding RNA-based patents and commercial applications (related, among others, to vaccines, other therapies, and diagnoses) that show an enormous potential or that are a radical success. For example, in the context of the current pandemic, Moderna and Pfizer / BioNtech have developed synthetic mRNA vaccines to induce immunity, winning the race to produce the first vaccines against the new SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus”, explains Dr. Amadís Pagès, CEO and co-founder of Moirai Biodesign.
“We firmly believe that synthetic RNA has sparked a revolution in the biotechnology industry, a revolution that has gained a lot of momentum in recent years. A revolution that, without doubt, will completely reshape the industry. And we are proud to be a part of it!”, he adds.
Architects of RNA
RNA molecules, like DNA molecules, are made up of a chain of nucleic acids, but the former fold quickly into a thermodynamically stable structure. This final structure determines which components of the cells they interact with and what their functions are.
According to Dr. Ivan Dotu, CTO and co-founder of Moirai Biodesign, “The design of RNA structures can be substantially improved by using algorithms to predict their stability. Most RNA designs are based on a specific structure or on a change in this structure to become functional, and the designed sequences do not always fold into the desired structure, either in-vitro or in-vivo (or both), so its functionality is null or very low. Therefore, to accelerate the production time of these synthetic RNAs, better and more versatile RNA design approaches are needed.”
Thanks to state-of-the-art artificial intelligence methodologies such as Constraint Programming (CP) and Large Neighborhood Search (LNS), MoiRNAiFold introduces new modelling concepts that aim to surpass any other functional RNA design approach, while including new dozens of design constraints, quality measures and further improved features for controlling RNA regulation of gene expression, such as the calculation of translation efficiency.
To develop this technology, Moirai Biodesign has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 712949 (TECNIOspring PLUS), as well as from the Agency for the Competitiveness of the Government of Catalonia.
“MoiRNAiFold is aninnovative tool that allows for a rapid generation of RNA molecules that fold into complex structures in a stable way and in the desired form, with a specific biological function and without the need to test thousands of designs by high-throughput assay. In general, our RNA design software outperforms all of the existing approaches (both in speed and in number of solved structures). This paves the way to efficiently generate highly structured RNA molecules that cannot be designed by any other software”, says Dr. Dotu.
The results of the MoiRNAiFold studies have been published in the Nucleic Acids Research journal, issued by Oxford University Press (DOI:10.1093/nar/gkab331) and point to new pathways to improve computational RNA design methods.
“We have shown that MoiRNAiFold outperforms any existing software in designing RNA sequences that are functional when validated both in-vitro and in-vivo. Our tool is able to generate, in an easy-to-use, intuitive, and versatile way, RNA molecules that are equally or more efficient than those obtained from a selection of a battery of hundreds of designs. Our approach can be applied at any time with the expectation that the number of RNA molecules to be tested will be drastically reduced without compromising functionality and therefore reducing the time and cost of production in any scenario”, points out Dr. Pagès.
RNA design for biomedical R&D
Moirai Biodesign is a biotech startup created in 2016 by a group of scientists, experts in the field of bioinformatics, synthetic biology, and computational biology, in order to put RNA design at the service of biomedical R&D of industry and academia. Based in the Barcelona Scientific Park, the company has a multidisciplinary team of six specialists in biomedicine, biochemistry and artificial intelligence, among other areas.
The startup is in the validation phase of a diagnostic device (an in-vitro diagnostics kit), based on its own RNA biosensor technology, which initially focuses on determining the etiology of sepsis.
Since its inception, Moirai Biodesign has raised more than 1.2 million euros in private and public funding. In 2017, it was recognized with the “Innovative SME” seal, awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. Ireland’s RebelBio accelerator has played a very important role in driving its entrepreneurial project, as has the Ship2B accelerator.
Moirai Biodesign has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 712949 (TECNIOspring PLUS), as well as from the Agency for the Competitiveness of the Government of Catalonia.
It has also benefited from the Startup Capital programme, promoted by Acció. The company has also received national funding from the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism, through the ENISA Jóvenes Emprendedores line. At European level, it has received funding from EIT Health through the Headstart grant and has been the beneficiary of SME Instrument Phase I grant under the European Commission’s H2020 program.
Barcelona Science Park
c/ Baldiri Reixac, 10, Edifici Clúster, 1a pl
+34 93 403 46 62
The Barcelona Science Park is one of Europe's model ecosystems in scientific, technological and business innovation in health and life sciences. Built by the University of Barcelona in 1997, it was the first science park in Spain. With a surface area of 100,000 m², it houses more than 110 companies and public entities (including 6 large public research institutes) and nearly 3,000 professionals (54% women).
One of the Park's hallmarks is the wide range of Scientific and Technological Services to facilitate R&D&I, which it offers to both internal and external, national and international companies and research groups, complemented by a programme to dynamise the Barcelona Science Park Community to intensify the interaction between its members and the innovation ecosystem.
One of the Park's strategic lines of action also includes the organisation of scientific outreach activities to make research more accessible to citizens and encourage young people to pursue a career in science. Currently, as part of its Research in Society programme, it organises more than 100 annual face-to-face activities with the participation of around 6,400 individuals.
This release was published on openPR.
Permanent link to this press release:
Please set a link in the press area of your homepage to this press release on openPR. openPR disclaims liability for any content contained in this release.
You can edit or delete your press release Moirai Biodesign launches a best-in-class software for the design of complex RNA molecules here
News-ID: 2314239 • Views: 412
More Releases from Barcelona Science Park
Barcelona Science Park refinances the €36.7 M debt with the Ministry of Scienc …
Barcelona Science Park (PCB) has refinanced the €36.7 M debt due with the Ministry of Science and Innovation over 25 years. This new schedule allows the PCB to have a stable financial position, both in the short and the long term, as well as consolidating its self-sustaining financial feasibility. The Government of Catalonia and the University of Barcelona support the refinancing, the first offering itself as a guarantor to the
Schülke & Mayr GmbH acquires Spanish company Vesismin Health
Schülke & Mayr GmbH, a leading global provider in the fields of infection prevention and hygiene solutions in healthcare, acquires Vesismin Health, based in the Barcelona Science Park. The Spanish company was founded in 2004 as a project within the IQS university center by Víctor Vallés. Since then, its main goal is the close collaboration with healthcare centres in their fight to face healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) by providing effective, innovative
Vesismin creates pioneering programme with comprehensive approach to hospital in …
Vesimin Health, based at the Barcelona Science Park and specialising in R&D and commercialising innovative solutions to control infections in hospital settings, has created Vesismin Services, the first comprehensive programme to provide guidance for professionals at hospitals and health centres in assessing protocols and practices for preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The innovation of this pioneering project lies in its comprehensive guidance service with a global approach that facilitates traceability
More Releases for RNA
Global RNA Analysis/Transcriptomics Market Report
The Global RNA Analysis / Transcriptomics Market is projected to expand at a CAGR of 12.5% during the forecast period, to hit USD 8.1 Billion by 2026, according to a recent market report compiled by Global Market Estimates. Due to the rising need for personalized medicines, the demand for RNA Analysis / Transcriptomics is expected to raise the market demand. Browse 156 Market Data Tables and 112 Figures spread through 175
Cancer RNA Expression Market to Reap Excessive Revenues by 2028(By sequencing te …
Worldwide cancer is one of the leading cause of death and effective way of treating it still looks unaccomplished in most parts of the world. The factors which influence the successful treatment of cancer are different depending on the stage of diagnosis, treatment availability and availability of trained healthcare professionals coupled with high economic burden of the disease. The gene expression of cancerous cells varies by cancer type and may
Senior experts from Exicure, Roche, GSK, BioNTech RNA Pharmaceuticals & MiNA The …
With less than 4 weeks until SMi’s 10th annual RNA Therapeutics event (http://www.therapeutics-rna.com/openpr) opens its doors in London, UK next month, registration will soon be closing and delegate places are becoming increasingly limited. Over the course of 2 focused days, attendees will be able to have an exclusive look into key developments in oligonucleotide therapeutics, mRNA technology, delivery mechanisms, and much more, led by industry leaders, scientific pioneers, and academics exploring
RNA Therapy Improves Vision in Child Blindness, hear more about recent developme …
SMi Reports: In light of recent developments in the field of RNA Therapy, SMi’s 10th Annual RNA Therapeutics is set to deliver the latest advancements in February this year. Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), one of the most common causes of blindness in children, has been the subject of successful RNA therapy as researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently published new data showing the success of the new therapy which improved
New Confirmed Delegates & Speakers for RNA Therapeutics
SMi are thrilled to welcome Dr. James Hamilton, Vice President, Head of Clinical Development, Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals onto the speaker panel RNA Therapeutics 2018! Dr. James Hamilton is currently responsible for all aspects of clinical trial design, implementation and execution. In this role, Dr. Hamilton managed the ARC-520 and ARC-AAT global programs through Phase 2 of development. Previously, Dr. Hamilton was Medical Director and Head of Corporate Development at Arrowhead. He led
Introducing the 9th Annual RNA Therapeutics 2018
As the requirement for targeted solutions for chronic diseases continues to grow, the interest of pharmaceutical and biotech companies has increasingly focused towards RNA therapeutics, such that by 2020, the RNA Therapeutics Market is predicted to attain $1.2 billion. One of the main challenges in RNA Therapeutics continues to be bridging the gap between in-vivo and in-vitro models, hear key case studies on the development on the latest delivery systems and