Bonac, a Japanese biotech startup, to use RNA technology to develop drug for coronavirus treatment
Bonac, a Fukuoka, Japan-based biotechnology startup that specializes in research and development of nucleic acid medicines, announced today that it is partnering with Fukuoka prefectural local authorities in an effort to develop a drug to treat COVID-19 using its RNA technology.
Under an agreement struck between the company and the Fukuoka prefectural government earlier this week, they will aim at developing an inhaled drug that can directly work on the patient’s lungs, thus having few side effects. Bonac says only two other companies in the world are similarly trying to develop a nucleic acid medicine to treat the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Founded in 2010 by Oki Tadaaki, BONAC specializes in research and development of nucleic acid medicines. Its services include nucleic acid drug substance manufacturing and drug development. Bonac says that by using its “RNA interference technology,” the firm will attempt to create a drug that can decompose the genomic RNA of the coronavirus and exert anti-viral effects in infected patients.
The efficacy of a prospective drug will be examined at the Fukuoka Institute of Health and Environmental Sciences, a biosafety level 3 facility run by the prefectural government, with the goal of starting a clinical trial on patients in April 2022.
DNA and RNA, which are collectively called nucleic acids, can be found in the cells of all living organisms. Their tasks are to store and transmit genetic information.
“The results of first in vitro screenings indicate our proprietary platform technology in nucleic acid medicine is directly applicable to COVID-19,” said CEO Hirotake Hayashi in a statement.