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2023-05-25| Partnerships

Rona Therapeutics, Keymed Biosciences Team Up To Develop siRNA Drugs For Kidney Disease

by Joy Lin
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Shanghai-based Rona Therapeutics is collaborating with fellow Chinese company Keymed Biosciences to advance small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics for glomerulonephritis, a type of inflammatory kidney disease. 

Related article: Sciwind Biosciences And SynerK Join Forces To Develop siRNA Therapeutics 

Key Details of the Partnership Agreement

The partnership will combine Rona’s technology in RNAi targeting the liver and other tissues and Keymed’s expertise in drug development for autoimmune indications. Using its Razor platform, Rona will discover and identify siRNA lead compounds that will target an undisclosed target related to glomerulonephritis. 

The companies have also agreed to co-develop and commercialize potential drug candidates globally, with the program expected to enter the clinic in the first half of 2024. 

“I am delighted to announce this collaboration between Keymed and Rona,” said Dr. Bo CHEN, the founder and CEO of Keymed. “We keep focusing on the urgent unmet clinical needs and dedicating ourselves to provide patients with high-quality, affordable, and innovative therapies. Taking advantage of Rona’s pioneering next generation siRNA platform and Keymed’s sophisticated biology expertise, the collaboration will provide exciting opportunities for both companies to explore the potential targets that have not been successfully modulated through conventional therapeutic modalities.”

Emerging Interest in siRNA

Glomerulonephritis, a major cause of renal impairment, happens when the glomeruli in the kidneys are damaged. Most disease cases are caused by the immune system attacking healthy body tissue, such as in the case of IgA nephropathy, lupus nephritis, and membranous nephropathy. 

siRNAs are short, double-stranded RNAi molecules that bind to complementary mRNAs to cause degradation of the mRNA. There has been emerging interest in using siRNAs as therapies, by having the molecules inhibit the translation of disease-causing proteins. 

In China, Hansoh Pharma has allocated at least $2 billion to strike deals around siRNA candidates with Keros Therapeutics, Silence Therapeutics, and OliX Pharma. siRNA is also the focus of a deal between Sciwind Biosciences and SynerK. Meanwhile, US- and China-based Sirnaomics has initiated clinical trials to test its siRNA drugs in cutaneous basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

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