The RNA drug hunters | November 27, 2017 Issue - Vol. 95 Issue 47 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 95 Issue 47 | pp. 16-18
Issue Date: November 27, 2017

The RNA drug hunters

Academics, biotech start-ups, and big pharma companies are designing small molecules that target RNA
Department: Business
Keywords: Drug discovery, RNA, drug design, biotechnology, small molecules, Matthew Disney, Arrakis Therapeutics, RNA Medicines Company, Ribometrix, Kevin Weeks, Nymirum, Expansion Therapeutics, Merck, riboswitch, Ribocil, Novartis, branaplam, microRNA, noncoding RNA

Matthew Disney has spent much of the past 12 years countering doubtful, sometimes even dismissive, remarks about his work. Fellow academic researchers said his science was too risky; federal agencies were reluctant to fund it. His friends in industry said there simply weren’t enough data.

Why the skepticism? The Scripps Research Institute Florida chemist has been trying to do something that defies drug discovery dogma: Invent small-molecule drugs that can target RNA.

Almost every pill . . .

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