Benchling launches solution to boost mRNA and RNA therapeutics development


Benchling has launched what it says is the industry’s first full set of capabilities for designing, modeling, and studying natural and chemically modified RNA in a single solution. 

As the biopharma industry increases its focus on developing RNA therapeutics, Benchling said its new RNA solution is the first purpose-built offering on the market to help R&D organizations accelerate the delivery of drug candidates. 

Featuring an RNA-aware registry with visualization tools for oligo and mRNA design and support for chemical modification of mRNA sequences, Benchling said RNA biologists and chemists can now collaborate more efficiently, standardize their work across teams, and develop drug candidates faster

Shifting pipelines

Following the deployment of RNA technology in the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna Covid-19 vaccines, biopharma companies have quickly shifted their pipelines to uncover therapeutic opportunities with RNA and mRNA. 

RNA therapeutics include a diverse group of therapeutic molecules that range from mRNA vaccines to antisense oligos, RNA-based gene therapy, and guide RNA-based CRISPR complexes. The unique function of these molecules, combined with the ability to adjust key properties through chemical modification or conjugation, has opened up novel ways of treating and preventing diseases.

Nearly half (44%) of the top 50 global biopharma companies are involved in RNA work through their own pipelines, M&A, or strategic alliances, based on GlobalData research. Venture capital has also invested $3 billion into RNA-based therapies in 2020 alone, according to Nature.

Tipping point

“We’re at a tipping point for RNA therapeutics, having figured out tough challenges like durability and stability, the industry is now looking for the right tools to accelerate RNA R&D,” said Ashu Singhal, co-founder and president of Benchling. 

“Covid vaccines were really just the beginning –- as we put more tools in the hands of scientists to help support their RNA therapeutics R&D, this field will really take off. With Benchling’s new RNA capabilities, scientists can now design, develop, and test a new mRNA vaccine or RNA cancer treatment from start to finish on a single platform.”

“RNA has nearly unlimited potential to cure a wide range of diseases. Benchling’s full set of purpose-built tools for RNA therapy development is going to enable us to realize this potential at an even greater pace than before,” said Francois Vigneault, co-founder and CEO of Shape Therapeutics, an RNA technology company advancing programmable medicine and a Benchling customer. 

“We are excited to see Benchling’s continued investment in RNA innovation, and appreciate their commitment to helping companies like ShapeTX accelerate next-generation biopharma solutions.”

Benchling said those working in RNA and mRNA therapeutics, RNA-based gene therapy, and gene editing will be able to use the new solution for faster RNA design, simplified collaboration and higher quality data and insights. 

Along with the general availability launch of the RNA full solution, Benchling is making additional new product features generally available, including updated sequence design and analysis, workflows and modern LIMS updates and new integrations.

Explore other topics: mRNA technologyRNA technology

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