Home Pharma Nucleome raises £37.5m to shine light on ‘dark genome’ –

Nucleome raises £37.5m to shine light on ‘dark genome’ –

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British biotech Nucleome Therapeutics is in the limelight thanks to a £37.5m ($40m) first round of funding that will be used to explore the so-called ‘dark’ regions of the human genome.

The dark genome – a loose term that covers the non-coding regions of the genome that can regulate gene expression and was previously incorrectly called junk DNA – is being increasingly explored by biopharmaceutical companies for new drug targets. progressing.

Oxford-based Nucleome is developing an atlas of the dark genome, initially focused on discovering therapeutics for autoimmune diseases, but also for other diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. They point out that they contain 90% of the genetic alterations associated with disease, including autoimmune diseases. arthritis.

According to biotechnology, the challenge in unlocking the potential to inform drug discovery is determining which variants regulate which genes in which cell types and whether they affect gene expression positively or negatively. to elucidate.

Decoding this represents a “significant opportunity for drug discovery and development,” to which Nucleome will draw on computational and experimental approaches based on decades of research at the University of Oxford. .

Dr. Danuta Jeziorska

Danuta Jeziorska, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Nucleome, said:

Jeziorska was previously a Senior Research Scientist at the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine (WIMM) in Oxford, but retired in 2018 to found Nucleome with fellow Oxford University colleagues Professor Jim Hughes and Dr. James Davies. Did.

of Series A Led by M Ventures, the investment arm of Germany’s Merck KGaA, with participation from Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Pfizer Ventures, British Patient Capital and founding investor Oxford Science Enterprises.

Dr. Bauke Anninga of M Ventures said the startup has “differentiated platform technology has the potential to fundamentally change the way precision medicine is discovered and developed. “We add 3D genomic information to existing genomic data, revealing new dimensions of information specific to disease and cell types.”

The nucleome isn’t the only place trying to find new drug targets in the noncoding regions of the genome. Other notable examples include Duke University spin-out Element Genomics, which was acquired by UCB in 2018, Enara Bio (formerly Arvaxx), and Rome Therapeutics.

main image LaCasade Goethe from Pixabay

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