OligoNova sets up first gathering of top Swedish oligonucleotide scientists

WRITTEN BY

Jamie Smith

OligoNova, Sweden’s national initiative for oligonucleotide therapies, is gathering leading Swedish oligonucleotide experts for the first face-to-face OligoNova Network conference to be held at GoCo Health innovation City in Mölndal on April 25-26, 2022.

 

The primary aims of this gathering of prominent researchers, clinicians and innovators, representing approximately 40 research groups from across Swedish academia, industry, institutes, healthcare regions and SMEs, are twofold:

·         To coordinate and strengthen Swedish research and expertise in this area to facilitate the future development of oligonucleotide therapeutics in Sweden.

·         To address challenges and catalyse collaboration opportunities relating to the development of oligonucleotides as ground breaking therapies that benefit patients.

Therapeutic oligonucleotides are a new form of treatment based on short and highly modified RNA or DNA molecules. Originally, oligonucleotide therapies were developed to treat rarer genetic diseases. However, today oligonucleotides are seen to hold ever greater promise, as the approach has shown to be suitable to target many different types of disease. Oligonucleotides, such as inclisiran to lower cholesterol, have received regulatory approval and are available to treat patients.

Claes Gustafsson, Professor of Medical Chemistry at the University of Gothenburg and Chairman of the OligoNova steering group, explains “Oligonucleotides are quickly becoming the starting point for developing many new drugs faster and with higher precision than before. Through OligoNova, these new opportunities for drug discovery and development are becoming more widely available to the Swedish research community.”

At the OligoNova Network conference, Swedish experts will begin building national and international collaborations to tackle key R&D challenges and create innovative solutions, tools and knowledge that will, in turn, feed into the development of novel oligonucleotide therapies. Professor Tom Brown, University of Oxford, and Professor Anastasia Khvorova, University of Massachusetts Medical School, will deliver online inspirational lectures at the conference.

Pär Matsson, Professor of Pharmacokinetics at the University of Gothenburg and Scientific Director of the OligoNovaHub, says, “We are currently focusing on solutions to promote productive cellular uptake and targeted delivery of oligonucleotides to specific tissues or cell types, but are open to address additional challenges in collaboration with national and international constellations.”

The OligoNova Hub, which gives researchers access to cutting-edge oligonucleotide technologies and a chance to develop their results further, is being built at the AstraZeneca BioVentureHub innovation hub as part of the SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development platform. The hub currently has an open call for projects and is recruiting a dedicated team of up to 12 scientists to build the OligoNova Hub infrastructure and make a significant impact on the Swedish drug discovery scene.

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For more information, please contact:

Pär Matsson, Scientific Director – OligoNova Hub
+46 (0)31-786 4932, par.matsson@oligonova.org

Jörgen Jensen, Project Leader – OligoNova
+46 (0)708 467077, jorgen.jensen@oligonova.org

Karl-Johan Karlsson, Media Relations – AstraZeneca
+46 (0)73 580 12 68, karl-johan.karlsson@astrazeneca.com

Margareta Gustafsson Kubista, Media Relations – University of Gothenburg
+46 (0)705 30 19 80, margareta.g.kubista@gu.se

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About OligoNova

OligoNova is Sweden’s national initiative for oligonucleotide therapies organised under Wallenberg Centre for Molecular and Translational Medicine and part of the SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development platform. It was initiated by the University of Gothenburg and AstraZeneca in 2020 and is supported by SweLife, Vinnova (the Swedish government innovation agency), Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, University of Gothenburg, SciLifeLab, Region Västra Götaland, and Carl Bennet AB. The ambition with OligoNova is to create the conditions necessary to enable the development of ground breaking therapies that can be implemented in the health care system and benefit patients. OligoNova consists of a national research Network that addresses R&D challenges within the area; the OligoNova Hub which delivers resources and support to progress academic projects towards preclinical proof-of-concept. In addition, OligoNova Accelerate is being created to take promising projects all the way into early clinical development. For more information, visit www.oligonova.org

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