CAMBRIDGE, England, January 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ --
STORM Therapeutics, the drug discovery company focused on the discovery of small molecule therapies modulating RNA epigenetics, today announced the appointment of Nobel Prize Winner Professor Thomas Cech as a Scientific Advisor. This appointment follows STORM Therapeutics' successful Series A Financing Extension announced in January 2018.
Professor Cech is Distinguished Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder and Director, University of Colorado BioFrontiers Institute. He has spent decades at the frontier of research into RNA biology discovering novel biologic mechanisms important to cellular function and shaping both academic and commercial efforts in the RNA field. Professor Cech was the scientific founder of Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (1992-99) which became Sirna Therapeutics and is now an operating subsidiary of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of Merck & Co, Inc., New Jersey, USA.
In 1982 Professor Cech and his research group announced that an RNA molecule from Tetrahymena, a single-celled pond organism, cut and rejoined chemical bonds in the complete absence of proteins. This discovery of self-splicing RNA provided the first exception to the long-held belief that biological reactions are always catalyzed by proteins. In addition, it has been heralded as providing a new, plausible scenario for the origin of life; because RNA can be both an information-carrying molecule and a catalyst, perhaps the first self-reproducing system consisted of RNA alone.
Commenting on the appointment, CEO of STORM Therapeutics, Keith Blundy said: "We are very pleased to have attracted such an internationally renowned researcher as Professor Tom Cech to STORM as an advisor. As a leader in the field of RNA biology, Tom's in-depth knowledge, insight and experience will be invaluable as we look to continue building a drug discovery platform and mature into a world leading therapeutics company targeting RNA epigenetic modulation."
Professor Tom Cech said: "Our understanding of RNA modification and its effects on biology and disease are increasing exponentially. Now is the time to begin exploring the therapeutic potential. I am enthused to contribute to STORM Therapeutics' leading effort to develop small molecule modulators of RNA epigenetics."
In addition to the 1989 Nobel Prize, Professor Cech's work has been recognized by many national and international awards and prizes, including the Heineken Prize of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences (1988), the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (1988) and the National Medal of Science (1995). In 1987 Professor Cech was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and awarded a lifetime professorship by the American Cancer Society.
Other recent appointments at STORM Therapeutics include: Sakae Asanuma, President of Taiho Ventures and Professor Paul Workman, President and CEO of The Institute of Cancer Research to the Board of Directors; and Dr Paul Leeson and Professor Mark Dawson as scientific advisors.
STORM Therapeutics, founded in 2015, is a University of Cambridge spin-out translating the ground-breaking work of Professors Tony Kouzarides and Eric Miska in RNA epigenetics into the discovery of first-in-class drugs in oncology and other diseases. It is the leading company currently tackling disease through modulating RNA modifying enzymes and is developing a unique platform to address these enzyme classes, including RNA methyltransferases.
STORM is backed by blue chip investors Cambridge Innovation Capital, Merck Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, Touchstone Innovations and Taiho Ventures LLC, who share the founders' ambitions to build a world-leading company in the field. To date, STORM Therapeutics has raised £16million of funding.
SOURCE STORM Therapeutics