Evonik collaborating with Stanford University on ‘next generation’ of mRNA-based medicine

The two companies aim to expand the potential uses of mRNA therapeutics to combat a range of diseases.

The effective and safe delivery of mRNA into the cell is one of the greatest challenges in expanding the use of mRNA therapeutics to promising areas such as cancer immunotherapy, protein replacement and gene editing.

The German company said a polymer-based delivery system was developed at the US university, complementing its own technology platform for mRNA delivery. Known as the Charge Altering Releasable Transporter (CART), the system was developed by Professor Robert Waymouth, Professor Paul Wender, and Professor Ronald Levy.

Starting this month, Evonik and Stanford scientists will begin a three-year sponsored research collaboration to develop CART, which Evonik will license and commercialize.

“We look forward to enabling the next generation of mRNA-based medicine with this project,” says Dr. Thomas Riermeier, Head of the Healthcare Business Line at Evonik.

Evonik said his team will work with scientists from Stanford University to scale up synthesis and formulation, and advance its innovative technology for organ-selective delivery based on a non-animal, synthetic degradable polymer.

Evonik’s goal is to make this technology available in GMP quality and for use in clinical development and ultimately on a commercial scale.

The aim is to expand Evonik’s portfolio as a system solution partner for advanced drug delivery.

Evonik recognized the potential of gene-based therapeutic approaches early on and made targeted investments in this area with the takeover of Transferra Nanosciences in 2016.