Aldevron Breakthrough Blog
Unique Perspectives, Unique Opportunities
May 26, 2022 / by Aldevron
TIDES USA pivots to RNA technology
We often hear how interest in, and use of, RNA technology is growing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. One discussion at the TIDES USA conference had a unique perspective: how Moore’s Law may now apply to RNA technology.
In brief, Moore’s Law, directed at computing power, states that the number of transistors on a microchip doubles about every two years, though the cost of computers is halved. In a presentation by Tessera Therapeutics, the connection was made that Moore’s Law could also be applied to the decrease in mRNA therapeutic batch costs The ensuing discussion covered how, where, and to what extent the role RNA therapeutics will play within the industry. This includes how advances in the technology could be used treat cancer, heart, and ocular issues.
With that, key messaging at the event had an emphasis on navigating the cutting edge of nucleic acid therapies due to the advancements provided through the success of mRNA vaccines. But other items, such as ligases to rejoin endonuclease fragments into single unbroken fragments, circular RNA as an emerging field for new therapeutics, and IVT enzymes for mRNA production, were also topics of interest for attendees. Of special interest was the availability of products manufactured under cGMP. While many talks were data driven, others focused on the ongoing supply chain concerns and the impact on timelines.
Many companies face issues with limited capital or the ability to procure reagents, along with items such as plastics and equipment. To help maintain timelines, many companies have been offloading work they are unable to perform in-house on to CDMOs. This is a critical point for some companies as they are progressing their programs to the point where they are planning for IND filing and clinical trials, where GMP level products will be needed.
Beyond the ongoing discussions of RNA potential, much of the program focused on the topics of oligonucleotides, including synthetic production, high-volume, and a new model for lipid nanoparticle improvements. Advances are also needed in therapeutic delivery systems—a persistent topic of many conversations.
While TIDES is generally recognized for its short oligonucleotide program, discussions of RNA vaccines and therapeutics continue to grow at this meeting. It seems as if TIDES will grow as a place to learn about the different emerging technologies inspired by mRNA vaccine success, which will offer a number of unique opportunities for the industry.