to design RNA therapeutics for rare diseases using x AI technology
Contera Pharma, a subsidiary of Bukwang, is focused on developing new treatments for people suffering from neurological disorders. Contera Pharma and Abzu partner to design RNA therapeutics on two exclusive targets within rare neurological disorders using xAI technology. The two programs are the first precision medicine projects under the Contera Pharma CP2G-NOVA platform
As part of the Contera Pharma strategy to expand our early pipeline with internal innovative projects, the CP2G-NOVA (RNA therapeutic platform) will deliver several programs in the coming years. The R&D team has identified several targets and has now initiated work on specific targets relevant for rare neurological disorders / neurodevelopmental disorders, i.e. Metachromatic Leukodystrophy and Canavan Disease (CP-101; CP-102 programs). The CP-101 and CP-102 discovery projects have been initiated in 2021 and more CP2G-NOVA programs are expected to follow later in 2021 and 2022. To jump-start our CP2G-NOVA platform, Abzu has been identified as a strong partner to accelerate and optimize the discovery of lead ASO candidates for the CP-101 and CP-102 projects.
Abzu, an applied research startup who has developed a pioneering artificial intelligence (xAI), and Contera Pharma, are partnering to design nucleic acid-based drugs on two targets. Abzu will collaborate exclusively with Contera Pharma on the targets. The drugs will be part of the rapidly emerging field, RNA therapeutics, that is transforming healthcare as we know it. The partnership will enable us to rapidly advance proprietary nucleic acid-based therapeutics.
Contera Pharma has therefore entered a partnership with Abzu to develop ASO designs and utilize prediction tools, based on Abzu’s QLattice AI platform, to generate a unique ASO data repository of several thousand ASOs, their chemical structures and pharmacological properties.
The collaboration will deliver the additional important knowledge and technology for selecting and maturing Contera Pharma wholly owned lead candidates for the CP-101 and CP-102 RNA pipeline programs.
The Project cost is DKK 560K (90K USD) as a one-off payment. The agreement can potentially be expanded to include additional programs (additional targets) / modalities (e.g. siRNA) or additional optimization campaigns.
Contera Pharma will have the exclusive right to work with Abzu on the targets provided by Contera Pharma and all information related to the targets provided by Contera Pharma, including but not limited to any data and/or results, regardless of form, generated in the project by the model or model developer or ASO expert and/or provided by Contera Pharma is confidential and the exclusive property of Contera Pharma.
A comprehensive work order has been prepared defined the deliverables and roles of the parties to generate the ASO leads. The ASO design and selection code created during the collaboration is co-owned and shared in a joint closed repository.
There are no development, commercial, sales milestones or royalties associated with the identified lead candidates.
About Metachromatic Leukodystrophy and Canavan disease
Contera Pharma have identified leukodystrophies as an area of high Biotech relevance since there is a huge unmet medical need, strong causality / biology understanding and still treatment options are lacking. Leukodystrophies are genetic disorders characterized by degeneration or abnormal development of white matter in the brain leading to a wide range of neurological symptoms such as ataxia, hypotonia, intellectual disability, loss of previously acquired motor skills, feeding difficulties, abnormal muscle tone. The unmet need is significant and treatments will be first in class.
Contera Pharma has initially focused on two leukodystrophies, Canavan disease and metachromatic leukodystrophy. In most patients these diseases present themselves in infancy and patients have a life expectancy of 5-10 years. In Canavan disease mutations in the ASPA gene leads to accumulation of toxic amounts of N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA) and in metachromatic leukodystrophy mutations in the ARSA gene leads to toxic accumulation of sulfatides. Through CPG2-NOVA, Contera Pharma has identified two enzymatic targets that are responsible for generation of the toxic amounts NAA and Sulfatides. By taking advantage of RNA therapeutics, we are pursuing these targets with the aim of reducing accumulation of toxic intermediates and thus development of the severe disease phenotype and death.
Abzu, founded in January 2018, with offices in Copenhagen, Denmark and Barcelona, is an AI company with past experience from previous RNA platform work. Abzu's pioneering artificial intelligence, the QLattice®, accelerates analysis and insights through transparent and explainable models.
For more information, visit: www.abzu.ai.