Advantages of mRNA-Based Gene Therapies

Jake Becraft, PhD, chief executive officer and cofounder, Strand Therapeutics, discussed the company’s technology and focus on mRNA therapies.

"Viral-based therapies warrant a number of concerns... and synthetic DNA is actually incredibly hard to deliver because of the nucleus... mRNA-based gene therapies are going to be revolutionary in the future, we just have to really fix 2 of the largest issues, longevity of expression and specificity, that are holding us up from advancing mRNA technologies beyond vaccines into more rigorous therapeutic contexts."

Strand Therapeutics is developing mRNA-based therapeutics for a number of oncologic indications with an initial focus on solid tumors. They are also developing programable mRNA to complement cell therapies such as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies. The company plans to initiate first-in-human clinical trials in 2022.

To help support Strand’s work in the oncology space, the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health awarded the company two Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research grants to help develop mRNA-based therapeutics for melanoma and triple negative breast cancer in August 2021.

GeneTherapyLive spoke with Jake Becraft, PhD, chief executive officer and cofounder, Strand Therapeutics, to learn more about the advantages of mRNA-based therapies over DNA-based therapies. He also discussed how Strand’s platform works to create these therapies and the ease of manufacturing and delivering such therapies.

REFERENCE
Strand Therapeutics awarded two phase I NIH SBIR grants to advance programmable, long-lasting mRNA therapeutics for melanoma and breast cancer. News release. Strand Therapeutics. August 4, 2021. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210804005169/en/Strand-Therapeutics-Awarded-Two-Phase-I-NIH-SBIR-Grants-to-Advance-Programmable-Long-Lasting-mRNA-Therapeutics-for-Melanoma-and-Breast-Cancer