On June 16, 2021, International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw (IIMCB) and OncoArendi have signed an agreement which launches a new, strategic area of research cooperation. It focuses on the development of the SMR Platform, i.e. the platform of small molecules targeting RNA. Discovery and development of small molecule drugs modulating RNA function with the use of innovative bioinformatic tools is one of the three key R&D areas of the Company's strategy for growth in 2021-2025.
This cooperative research will include enhancement and optimization of the Bioinformatics Platform and the embedded computer programs, which will be used to discover new small molecules. Under this agreement OncoArendi will finance research at IIMCB in the net amount of 2.5 million PLN. The agreement also stipulates that OncoArendi will spend at least 2 million PLN covering its internal R&D expenses.
- The mRNA technology has the potential to become a breakthrough therapeutic approach in the treatment of previously incurable diseases. It will open access to new biological targets hidden in the sequence of human RNA, which were previously inaccessible to conventional medicines - we are talking about thousands of new possible interactions for drugs of the future, which we plan to develop. Moreover, by interfering with the RNA function, we can obtain a therapeutic effect at an early stage of the disease, before the synthesis of pathogenic proteins occurs. Therefore, we will strike directly at the source of the disease, before its irreversible consequences occur - says Rafał Kamiński, Member of the Board, Scientific Director (CSO) of OncoArendi Therapeutics S.A.
At the same time, OncoArendi and IIMCB entered into exclusive negotiations to in-license the Bioinformatics Platform, which will enhance and accelerate the process of screening for and designing new drugs in the Company's SMR Platform. A six-month period of exclusivity has been agreed by the parties until the signing the License Execution Agreement.
During this period of exclusive negotiations, due diligence will be conducted on the scope of the licensed IP and know-how and the functionality of the Bioinformatics Platform will be validated for in silico predictions of the binding of small molecules to RNA fragments. IIMCB will receive from OncoArendi a one-off, non-refundable exclusivity fee in the net amount of 100,000 PLN.
The solutions and software subject to licensing were developed by the Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Protein Engineering (LBIB), headed by prof. Janusz Bujnicki at IIMCB. LBIB will also be responsible for the execution of the research tasks assigned to IIMCB under the cooperation agreement. Prof. Janusz Bujnicki is one of the pioneers and leaders of bioinformatics in Poland and an outstanding scientist exploring the structure of RNA and its interactions with other molecules. The scientific group of prof. Bujnicki has created globally unique algorithms and bioinformatics software, which are an important element in the discovery of new drugs targeting RNA. The innovativeness of the Bioinformatics Platform and the extensive RNA structure and function knowledge of prof. Bujnicki's team offer a technological competitive advantage over other international companies developing small molecule drugs modulating RNA function.
- A key element of our cooperation with OncoArendi is to apply computer methods developed by my team to study the interaction of small chemical molecules with RNA. We have a unique software and appropriate know-how to find the right molecules that bind to the desired targets in RNA and to study the influence of this binding on the RNA structure. Together with OncoArendi, we aim to identify molecules binding to RNA and exerting an appropriate functional effect - says prof. Janusz Bujnicki, head of the Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Protein Engineering at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw.
- Collaboration in the area of the SMR Platform gives us a unique opportunity to discover and develop breakthrough therapies of the future, which, by interacting directly with RNA structures, can be used to cure numerous diseases. This is a new hot trend in the biopharmaceutical industry, with many companies seeing an opportunity for breakthrough in the pharmacological treatment of millions of patients with uncurable diseases. By expanding our collaboration in this area, we capitalize on the synergy between the unique knowledge and groundbreaking results of the Institute's basic research, the know-how of the bioinformatics laboratory of Prof. Bujnicki and our years of experience and proven commercial success in the development of small molecules that interact with new biological targets. The International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw is one of the leaders, not only in Poland but also worldwide, when it comes to research and publications on RNA biology. Our collaboration will be very significant in the long-term development of OncoArendi and we are convinced that it will contribute to the discovery and development of innovative drugs that interact with RNA - says Marcin Szumowski, President of the Management Board and Chief Executive Officer of OncoArendi Therapeutics S.A.
- The mission of IIMCB is to conduct basic research aimed at understanding the basis of human diseases at the molecular and cellular level. This knowledge can be applied to create innovative therapeutic and diagnostic methods. Studies of structure and functions of various types of RNA are the main area of activity of several research groups at the Institute, and our scientists are among world leaders in this field. To ensure that the results of our research are translated into clinical applications, IIMCB’s long-term priority is to cooperate with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to strengthen the potential of Polish companies by sharing resources and expertise. Thus, the current cooperation with OncoArendi is in line with the IIMCB mission and development strategy - says prof. Marta Miączyńska, Director of the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw.