Envisagenics has raised a total of $2.35 million to continue working to discover RNA-based therapies for diseases linked to RNA splicing errors, such as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The company uses an innovative platform that couples RNA splicing analysis with artificial intelligence.
The biotechnology company’s drug discovery platform, called SpliceCore, aims to develop therapeutics that correct splicing errors in RNA — the molecule that, along with DNA, gives the instructions to make all the proteins required for our cells to function.
Errors in RNA splicing — a natural process cells use to generate a variety of RNA molecules by simply arranging the building blocks that compose the RNA molecule in different ways — are the cause of more than 300 genetic diseases, including SMA.
With RNA splicing analysis, researchers are able to analyze millions of RNA sequence codings and identify RNA splicing errors. The most plausible and likely targets for treatments, after being validated in experiments using patients’ data, are then identified by artificial intelligence.
With a target identified, researchers can then design a tailored drug and investigate its action, or how well it might work, using the SpliceCore’s modular platform.
The money was raised in what is called seed capital round, in which an investor funds a company in exchange for an equity stake in it.
“It is great to have the support of established female investors with the experience to scale companies and accelerate drug discovery. It’s exciting to be part of changing the landscape of venture investments in female founders,” Maria Luisa Pineda, co-founder and chief executive officer of Envisagenics, said in a press release.
“Envisagenics is disrupting traditional drug discovery through applied machine learning and AI. We are excited to see the commercialization of SpliceCore enable biopharma leaders to accelerate critical discovery efforts for life-saving therapeutics,” said Daniella Kranjac, co-founder and managing director of Dynamk Capital, who led the seed round with other investors.
“Discovering RNA splicing errors and learning how to fix them at the same time is a fantastic problem to solve with AI” said Dr. Martin Akerman, co-founder and chief technology officer of Envisagenics. “Once you find a disease-causing splicing error with SpliceCore, you are halfway to finding an RNA-therapeutic drug that acts directly on the RNA.”