Focused on non-coding RNAs and their interacting proteins as a novel class of druggable targets
Combining proprietary target identification with selective small molecule therapeutics development
Currently advancing two lead programs in oncology and immunology

March 01, 2022 07:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NextRNA Therapeutics, a biotechnology company unlocking the potential of non-coding RNAs to develop transformative therapeutics, today announces its launch with $9.3 million in seed financing and a $46.8 million Series A led by Cobro Ventures and Lightchain Capital, with additional participation from Circle Alternative Investments, Evans Capital, Jefferies, Rivas Capital, and Willett Advisors. Proceeds will be used by the company to augment its target and drug discovery engine, expand its pipeline, and advance lead programs.


The vast majority of DNA is copied into RNAs that do not make proteins. These RNA molecules, called “non-coding RNAs,” play essential roles in cells by interacting with and modulating the activities of proteins. These interactions can drive pathogenic processes in multiple disease areas, including oncology, immunology, and neurology. Non-coding RNAs, in particular long non-coding RNAs, and their interacting proteins therefore represent a vast and untapped class of novel therapeutic targets.


“NextRNA is uniquely positioned to be the leader in non-coding RNA-directed medicines,” said Dominique Verhelle, Ph.D., MBA, co-founder, chief scientific officer, and interim chief executive officer, NextRNA. “We have established a robust target and drug discovery engine to systematically identify disease-relevant long non-coding RNAs and their interacting proteins. By developing selective small molecules to drug these interactions, we plan to translate discoveries of non-coding RNA targets into a robust pipeline of transformative therapies across multiple disease areas.”


NextRNA was established based on pioneering work by Carl Novina, M.D., Ph.D., at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. “By understanding the interactions between long non-coding RNAs and specific proteins, we can decode the function of long non-coding RNAs and apply it to create medicines,” said Dr. Novina, co-founder of NextRNA.


Since its founding in January of 2021, NextRNA has established its initial team, built out the target and drug discovery engine, and advanced two small molecule programs in oncology and immunology.


“NextRNA is at the forefront of innovation in the field of non-coding RNAs,” said Todd Kaloudis, Managing Director at Cobro Ventures. “There is growing excitement around the potential of non-coding RNA-directed medicines, and we are pleased to have such an experienced team focused on NextRNA’s vision of bringing transformative therapies to patients.”


Founders and Leadership
Carl Novina, M.D., Ph.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
Robert Langer, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kenneth Anderson, M.D., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School
Leon Wert-Lamas, Ph.D., DVM, NextRNA Therapeutics
Marc Cohen, Cobro Ventures, executive chairman of NextRNA Therapeutics
Dominique Verhelle, Ph.D., MBA, chief scientific officer and interim chief executive officer
JS Cleiftie, M.S., MBA, chief business officer
Julia Novina, J.D., chief legal officer


About NextRNA Therapeutics
NextRNA is a biotechnology company with a mission to translate pioneering science into transformative therapeutics for the benefit of patients. The company is leveraging its proprietary technology platform to systematically identify disease-relevant non-coding RNAs and their interacting proteins, and to develop selective small molecules to drug these interactions. NextRNA investors include Cobro Ventures, Lightchain Capital, Circle Alternative Investments, Evans Capital, Jefferies, Rivas Capital, and Willett Advisors.

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Kit Rodophele
Ten Bridge Communications
[email protected]