01.12.21

Turn Biotechnologies Licenses Technology that Aims to Unwind the Effects of Aging at a Cellular Level

Source: Turn Biotechnologies

Turn Biotechnologies announced that it has acquired the global rights for new technology that aims to reprogram cells to undo many of the effects of aging.

The company licensed its epigenetic reprogramming of age (ERA) technology from Stanford University, where it was developed by three researchers who founded Turn. It is the first technology to maintain cellular identity while restoring specific cells’ youthful functionality, to trigger the body’s ability to fight age-related diseases.

The company announced that it has also filed for patents to protect its technology in major-market nations on six continents.

“ERA technology is an extremely powerful platform and can be used to treat a variety of diseases throughout the body,” said Anja Krammer, Turn CEO. “The steps we have taken ensure that the fruits of our research can benefit millions of people around the world.”

A study published last March in the journal “Nature Communications” highlighted the promise of Turn’s ERA technology to treat age-related health conditions. The study found that old human cells can be induced into a more youthful and vigorous state when they are exposed to a rejuvenating treatment that triggers the limited expression of a group of proteins known as Yamanaka or transcription factors, which are important to embryonic development.

ERA uses messenger RNA (mRNA) to deliver these transcription factors to the cells’ epigenome, which controls cellular activity. As the epigenome ages, it prevents a cell from functioning optimally. The transcription factors – which can be delivered in a variety of combinations to target different cells – effectively revitalize the epigenome, restoring the cells’ ability to behave more youthfully.

“The ability to precisely control a cell’s rejuvenation means we will be able to turn back the clock on cellular vitality, effectively restoring cells’ ability to heal or regenerate damaged tissue,” Jay Sarkar, Turn’s chief technology officer and a company founder who helped to develop the ERA technology, said in a company news release. “Our research offers promise to people suffering from age-related diseases for which there are currently no cures.”

Turn’s technology uses mRNA to produce instructions that induce cells to treat or prevent disease. Messenger RNA made possible the speedy development of two recently announced COVID-19 vaccines. An advantage of mRNA is that it is safe because it never enters the cell nucleus where DNA is kept and the cell effectively gets rid of the mRNA after it has used the instructions carried by it.

Just as it led to the lightning-fast development of COVID-19 vaccines, use of mRNA promises to revolutionize the development of therapeutics by making that development safer, faster, more efficient and extremely tunable to patient need.

Turn is currently completing preclinical research on tailored therapies targeting indications in dermatology, osteo-arthritis and cartilage damage, ophthalmology, and musculature.

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