Jake Becraft: Origins of Strand and the Future of RNA Therapy (Nucleate Insights #2)


Jacob Becraft, CEO of Strand Therapeutics

Jacob Becraft, Ph.D., CEO, Co-founder at Strand Therapeutics

Scientific Context

  1. mRNA is a transient molecule which is degraded by a cell’s intrinsic mechanisms. This makes mRNA well-suited for applications which require only temporary protein generation such as vaccines, time-bound cellular reprogramming, or time-bound therapies.
  2. mRNA is restricted in location and activity to the cell’s cytoplasm. Unlike DNA-based therapies which require specific engineering to cross the complex nuclear membrane, mRNA has only one barrier to cellular entry — the cellular membrane itself. Additionally, there is virtually no risk of genomic integration as mRNA does not enter the nucleus or get retro-transcribed to DNA.
  1. Duration — The short-lived timeline of mRNA needs to be extended to better suit applications that require prolonged (but perhaps not permanent) protein expression.
  2. Control — The safety and efficacy of mRNA-based therapeutics requires a precise control over the strength and timing of protein expression to avoid the over-, under-, or mis-timed- expression of a protein.
  3. Specificity — It is critically important that whatever mechanisms are used to control mRNA expression level and timing are specific to the therapeutically introduced mRNA and will not affect any other mRNA in the recipient’s body.
  4. Immunogenicity — Introducing novel mRNA can trigger an immunogenic response which poses a considerable safety risk.

Key Insights

1. Minding the Gap

2. Making the Point

3. Engineering the Solution

4. Leading the Company

5. Building the Future

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