Ribometrix Raises $7.5 Million

Ribometrix, Inc., a biotech company dedicated to discovering and developing small molecule modulators of RNA to treat disease, has raised $7.5 million in seed capital. The investment was led by SV Health Investors and Hatteras Venture Partners. Also participating were...

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Small Molecules Against RNA

The start-up Ribometrix in North Carolina is scouring the three-dimensional, 3D, or tertiary, structures of RNA to find potential targets for small-molecule drugs. “If you’re going after tertiary structures, it looks like any other kind of drug discovery,” says Kevin Weeks, a biochemist at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and founder of Ribometrix. “Just like with protein folding, you can find appropriate clefts and crevices withinRNA to target.” The company is searching for microRNAs and mRNAs associated with cancer, fibrosis, Huntington’s disease and multiple sclerosis. According to Weeks, the company has identified ten targets. “What gets me excited about these small molecules is if you draw structures, they look like normal drugs,” Weeks says. “They don’t look like anything special.” He adds that the company hopes to have multiple clinical leads by 2019....

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Ribometrix In C&EN

Ribometrix, and its technology are featured in a recent issue of Chemical & Engineering News, under the headline "The RNA Drug Hunters." The article mentions new probing technologies, such as SHAPE, invented in Professor Kevin Weeks' lab, which helps identify structured regions of RNA, potentionally amenable to drug targeting. The article goes on to quote Professor Weeks, who founded Ribometrix with his former graduate student Katie Warner, stating that this "field is about to explode."

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