- Harness, formerly operating as Transine, broadens its approach to physiological protein upregulation through post-transcriptional modulation of protein synthesis
- Refined focus on neurodegenerative disease targets
- Proceeds to be used to advance lead programme targeting FAN1 nuclease in Huntington’s Disease towards the clinic
C ambridge, UK, 28 th November 2023 : Harness Therapeutics (‘Harness’, previously Transine Therapeutics), a biotechnology company focused on physiological protein upregulation to develop next generation therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, announces that it has successfully raised an additional £4 million in funding from its existing investors, bringing the total invested to £17.6 million. Proceeds will be used to advance Harness’ lead Huntington’s Disease (HD) programme targeting FAN1 nuclease and pursue target discovery and validation activities in other neurodegenerative disease pathways.
“ We have made great strides in our early work on post-transcriptional reg ulation of protein expression , and I am eager to bring th e unique capabilities and target insights we have acquired into action with our refined focus on neurodegeneration . T here is a pressing need for new approaches in neurodegeneration where compelling targets could be unloc ked by controlled upregulation , ” said Dr Jan Thirkettle, CEO of Harness Therapeutics . “ This further investment puts us in a strong position to address multiple neurodegenerative disease pathways , with a n initial focus on progressing our lead FAN1 nuclease programme into clinical development for Huntington’s Disease. I strongly believe that by pursuing physiological protein upregulation of targets with strong biology and genetic validation we can deliver new medicines that currently cannot be discovered through other methods .”
Harness Therapeutics was originally established as Transine Therapeutics in 2020 by leading life science investors Takeda Ventures and The Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF), with Epidarex Capital joining as an investor in 2022. Harness initially focussed on advancing its IncRNA “SINEUP” platform for upregulation of protein expression and the investment committed through this period has enabled Harness to build deep RNA biology alongside bespoke analytical capabilities. From this work, the company has gained unique insights into the regulation of therapeutic targets and broadened its oligonucleotide based toolset for physiological protein upregulation.
Miles Gerson, Executive Investment Director & Partner at Takeda Ventures commented , “ We are very excited to extend further investment in support of Harness’ commitment to pursuing differentiated therapies for an area with considerable unmet need . We believe that the Harness team has developed an exceptional RNA Biology platform that is insightfully designed to overcome the limitations of other platform s, enabling novel approaches to address the underlying drivers of neurodegenerative disease s .”
Christian Jung, Partner at SV Health Investors, investing out of DDF and Chairman of Harness’ Board, said, “ We are delighted to have been an early investor in Harness and are excited to see its unique target-focussed approach now being focussed on neurodegenerative diseases. We believe the technology hold s the potential to bring forward important new medicines that can change the lives of neurodegenerative disease patients who currently have few or no effective treatment options available to them . ”
About Harness Ther a peutics
Harness Therapeutics is a biotechnology company focused on the development of next generation therapeutics for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, with a lead programme in Huntington’s Disease. Focussing on neurodegeneration targets with strong biology and genetic validation, Harness Therapeutics utilises its deep understanding of RNA biology and post-transcriptional regulation to enable drugging with oligonucleotide based drugs to upregulate protein expression.
Harness Therapeutics has assembled a world-class team focused on the mission of building the most efficient physiological protein upregulation platform. This includes extensive RNA biology and bioinformatics expertise, specialist analytics capabilities and neurological cell models. Harness Therapeutics’ unique target-centric approach generates multiple orthogonal upregulation strategies combined with a detailed understanding of target biology to develop new medicines that can treat the underlying causes of neurodegenerative diseases.
Harness Therapeutics is based in Cambridge, UK, and is backed by leading life science investors – Takeda Ventures, The Dementia Discovery Fund and Epidarex Capital.
Dr Jan Thirkettle, CEO
Sylvie Berrebi, Frazer Hall