Orna Therapeutics is an MIT spin-off developing fully engineered circular RNA (oRNA) therapeutics, a new class of RNA medicines with the potential to treat a wide range of diseases including cancer, autoimmune, and genetic disorders.
Built on research from Prof. Daniel Anderson’s lab at MIT, oRNA is described by the company as the next revolution in RNA therapeutics. Orna’s says engineered circular RNAs have several key advantages, including superior protein expression, simpler and more cost-effective manufacturing, and improved delivery. Unlike other RNA therapies, oRNA does not require the addition of cap or tail structures and does not require the use of modified nucleotides to address innate immune responses. In addition, Orna says oRNAs are designed to drive unparalleled protein production while resisting degradation inside the body.
The potential applications of Orna’s technology are extensive. In particular, Orna believes it can apply its oRNA technology to potentially address the limitations of current immunotherapies by delivering chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) directly to patient’s immune cells within the body (in situ CAR therapy).
Founded in 2019, and officially launched in February 2021 with $80 million in Series A financing, the company is currently focused on bringing its initial programs to IND enablement, while continuing to advance its platform.