Historically, proteins are the main biomolecules considered for small molecule drug design. More than 95% of current therapeutics have been developed to modulate protein targets. However, in recent years, certain RNAs have been identified as druggable targets, thereby opening the race to drug RNA with small molecules.
Our target-agnostic AI-based drug discovery platform generates small molecules that can interact with well-defined RNA structures and modulate downstream processes. We currently develop small molecules that can bind to the internal ribosome entry site (IRES) in the 5' untranslated region of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA genome, which is responsible for the initiation of viral protein synthesis. Our AI-designed molecules are able to alter the structural features of a functional HCV RNA and have the ability to inhibit virus-mediated translation and replication.
About Hepatitis C Virus
HCV is estimated to infect about 1% of the global population. In 2019, approximately 300k people died from HCV. Current direct acting antiviral drugs demonstrate high efficacy. However, about 5% of patients do not succeed in eradicating HCV, largely due to antiviral drugs triggering strong drug selection favoring mutants that offer partial resistance to them. Thus, it is necessary to continue developing or improving the efficiency of antiviral drugs against HCV