RIBOZYME AND OMICS
Rznomics will attract equity investment (pre-IPO) before
listing this year.
It plans to apply for a technical evaluation for listing on the KOSDAQ in the second half of this year and enter the stock market in 2024.
Rznomics is a biotech that develops RNA-based bio-new drugs.
Seong-wook Lee, CEO of Rznomics, recently met E-Daily
and said, "We will push for an initial public offering (IPO) with the goal
IPO lead manager is Samsung Securities(016360).
Currently, the leading pipeline liver cancer treatment
"RZ-001" is undergoing clinical trials.
Clinical trials for malignant glioblastoma are also scheduled to begin within this year.
In the case of "RZ-001", if excellent data such as safety are confirmed in phase 1 clinical trials,
CEO Lee explains that it is worth looking forward to license out (technology transfer) in the second half of this year.
Other pipelines are also receiving a lot of attention
from global pharmaceutical companies.
CEO Lee said, "We can't disclose the details, but for verification purposes on the premise of licensing at the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies, requested multiple pipeline substances. We are in the final stages of the contract"
The core technology of Rznomics is "RNA editing."
Investors are interested in the core technology of
Rznomics as it is about to enter the stock market.
Rznomics develops gene therapy based on the RNA substitution enzyme platform.
The key is to remove disease-related targeted RNA and replace it with a therapeutic RNA at the same time.
Although it was an old concept, it did not meet the safety, efficiency, and specificity aspects, so it was not developed into actual technology.
However, Rznomics is emerging as a rising star as it catches all those three factors.
The specification of is Rznomics’ core technology is that it targets RNA, not DNA, unlike Christopher-Cas9, a genetic scissor well-known for targeting DNA. CEO Lee said, "Our technology does not modify DNA, and has a temporary effect, therefore it has advantage in treating disease such as cancer. It is also safe since it is not necessary to put external proteins and not necessary to utilize internal essential elements inside "
He added, "On the other hand, in the case of indications targeting non-dividing cells such as muscle, nerves, and retinal cells, using DNA virus vectors, such as adeno-assisted viruses(AAV) make it possible to express RNA substitution enzymes permanently. It allows gene editing without DNA modification.”
CEO Lee also stated, "We are finding and developing indications that our unique technology can be applied well. We will develop a 'niche blockbuster' by promising rare diseases and inaccessible diseases."
Overseas competitor deals with Big Pharma with several billion dollars
To see how valuable RNA editing technology is in the
market, it is worth referring to deals from overseas competitors.
NASDAQ-listed ProQR Theraputics (PRQR) signed a license agreement with Eli Lilly (LLY) in 2021.
Stock prices have rebounded sharply recently as they decided to expand. At that time, the deal between ProQR and Lily was $1.25 billion (about 1.6 trillion KRW).
Roche made a bigger bet. Roche implemented RNA target
platform of Biotech Shape Theraputics, an American RNA editing technology.
A total of $3 billion (about 3.8 trillion KRW) agreements was signed.
Rznomics' RNA editing technology has a distinct characteristic from these companies.
"Rznomics RNA editing technology is a mechanism that replaces and corrects the whole wrong RNA part after the target site with normal RNA,"
It's different from competitor's technology in that point. Even if each patient has a myriad of different mutations, the strength is that it can be treated by a single treatment."
Leading Pipeline Clinical Momentum Line Up
The main pipeline is 'RZ-001', which is being developed
as a liver cancer treatment.
Clinical trial plan (IND) , was approved for phase 1/2a clinical trial in Korea in June last year, and in October of the same year, it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it will be performed as multinational clinical trial.
RZ-001 is targeting the telomerase RNA which is expressed specifically in cancer cell with an adenovirus vector that delivers ribonucleic acid substitution enzymes.
At the same time, it is a mechanism that expresses genes that induce anticancer action.
CEO Lee said, "Recently, phase 1 administration has begun," adding, "At the end of last year, the company applied for a clinical IND for malignant glioblastoma in Korea. In the first half of this year, we will apply for IND to the U.S. FDA,"
Rznomics is developing not only a pipeline of anticancer drugs, but also Alzheimer's drugs, hereditary retinal pigmentation, and rett syndrome therapeutics etc.
It is developing various therapeutics in various fields using platform technology. Especially they are focusing on “RZ-004”, a treatment for retinal pigmentation.
"In September of this year, we will apply for IND for clinical trials in the United States, we will eliminate harmful genes, considering the modality of expressing good genes, I think it's a disease that can be implemented well with Rznomics’s technology," he said.
He added, "As a result of my full-time job, I was able to receive encouraging results, and since there are no competitors, innovative treatments are also worth looking forward to."
Development of Circular RNA Structure
Platform…"Possibility of replacing mRNA"
Rznomics recently developed a new structural platform that can create circular RNA.
CEO Lee said, "Domestic patents have been
registered, and we are waiting for the registration result with patents application
to the United States and major countries."
Circular RNA is a new type of RNA that has been shown to have greater stability in vivo than mRNA, and is evaluated to have the potential to produce a larger amount of therapeutic protein in the body.
In August last year, Biotech ORNA, which can be seen as a competitor, signed a deal worth $3.65 billion (about 4.7 trillion KRW) with global Big Pharma Merck (MRK). It was a large contract worth 150 million dollars (about 200 billion KRW) in down payment alone.
"Circular RNA has the potential to replace mRNA," mRNA has several patent issues and the process is complicated, but circular RNA of Rznomics can be done in a single process." "Rznomics has its own circular RNA technology and has different structural and component characteristics from existing technologies, so it will be competitive,"