STORM in the News

RNA epigenetics is coming of age

Following the STORM RNA epigenetics conference in Cambridge, UK on 17-19 September, STORM's Chief Scientific Officer, Oliver Rausch writes on the role of RNA epigenetics in medicine for the November-December 2019 edition of MedNous, a publication of Evernow Publishing Ltd.

RNA epigenetics is a brand new field of biology, and as such, too early to be targeted by traditional large pharma. However, it presents a perfect hunting ground for innovative, ground-breaking start-up companies. Over the past three years, several new and well-funded biotechs have emerged with a focus on targeting RNA modifications, including STORM Therapeutics.

In this article, Oliver discusses the role of RNA epigenetics in medicine with specific reference to the METTL3 enzyme as a target for cancer. In a presentation at the Cambridge conference, STORM, for the first time, disclosed data from its METTL3 programme, describing small molecule inhibitors of METTL3 that are orally bioavailable and show pronounced anti-tumour efficacy in therapeutically relevant proof of concept animal models of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML). STORM is now building on the story in AML by evaluating its molecules in a range of solid cancers driven by m6A methylation and aims to enter clinical trials with a candidate molecule in 2021.

Oliver also looks beyond cancer to potential applications for the technology in the fields of infectious and rare diseases. Although most of the current evidence points to cancer as the therapeutic area of choice for modulators of RNA modification, undoubtedly any disease that is driven by inappropriate activation, expansion or differentiation of particular cell types presents a potential therapeutic opportunity for such drugs. Already, strong evidence is emerging that RNA modifications are equally important in neuroscience, metabolism and immunology, raising expectations that this new mode of action may also lead to new opportunities for the treatment of other diseases.

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