The Walloon spin-off THERATRAME innovates against cancer

The new spin-off from the University of Liege raises €4.5 million to continue its cancer treatment research based on tRNA ‘reading’.

A group of investors and the Walloon Region have just invested 4.5 million euros THERAtRAME, a new spin-off from the University of Liège and WelBio, the Walloon inter-university research institute for life sciences.

This biotech works in the search for therapies against cancer, epitranscriptomics, a very innovative industry. It aims to use new knowledge in the field resulting from the basic research carried out by professors Alain Chariot, Francesca Rapina and Pierre Close at the GIGA Institute, the interdisciplinary research center for biomedical sciences at the University of Liège, and at WelBio.

A little of renewal is necessary to understand the scope of the spin-off. RNA, as a reminder, is a nucleic acid that copies a segment of DNA and serves as a carrier of genes to cells synthesize proteins What you need. There is two types of RNA, messenger RNA (mRNA) and transfer RNA (tRNA): the first passes the genetic information to the cell machine, while the second helps it translate and encode that information.



“Artificial intelligence will help us develop chemicals to target patients sensitive to new therapies that will emerge from the platform.”

Francesca Rapino

Co-founder and COO of THERAtRAME

Banking on Cancer Susceptibility

The work of the three scientists from Liège has made it possible to show that cancer cells Take control of the protein synthesis process by making genetic changes to tRNA, with the consequence in particular of the occurrence of metastases and the resistance of cells to existing therapies. This research area is called epitranscriptomics.

Liégeois’ discovery uncovers previously ignored or little-explored vulnerabilities in cancer. it is you Drug discovery platform based on the artificial intelligence developed by THERAtRAME target in hopes of developing new therapies to treat cancer.

The young shoot will lean “On predictive mathematical models based on artificial intelligence to develop its product portfolio by discovering new key players in the development of cancer and by identifying the most promising targets for clinical trials,” she said in her statement.

“We have developed such mathematical models to position new therapies,” he reformulates Francesca Rapino, who will become Chief Operating Officer (COO). the spin-off. “Artificial intelligence will help us develop chemicals to target patients sensitive to new therapies that will emerge from the platform.” In order to feed itself, the company will have access to biobanks with samples from patients reserved for research and other “Big Data” sources.

4.5 million

Euro

THERAtRAME has just raised 2.5 million euros from investors and another 2 million in the form of a subsidy from the Walloon Region.

Clinical trials in 2026

“According to our estimates, we expect to arrive in clinical trials in four years”adds the COO.



“Here is an open window to better understand how cancer develops and thus to identify chemical processes as targets for innovative cancer therapies.”

Fabrice office

Vice Rector for Research at the University of Liège

“THERAtRAME is based on innovative research carried out at ULiège’s GIGA Institute on the fundamental but little-known role of the transfer RNA epitranscriptome during the ‘messenger RNA’ phases of gene expression until a few years ago,” summarizes Fabrice Bureau together , immunologist and vice-rector for research at the University of Liège. “Here is an open window to better understand how cancer develops and thus to identify chemical processes as targets for innovative cancer therapies.”

resources

On the financial side, THERAtRAME collected 2.5 million euros from the fund the Belgian inter-university fund QBIC3, the Liège investment fund Noshaq, the Walloon public fund SRIW (through its subsidiary SRIW Life Sciences), Gesval, the technology transfer and investment company of the University of Liège, and private investors. A grant of 2 million euros from the Walloon region closes this seed financing round.

On the organizational chart side, alongside Francesca Rapino, who is appointed COO, the other co-founder, Pierre Close, becomes Chief Scientific Officer. The position of Managing Director is assigned to Ching Man Choi. The latter comes from public cell therapy biotech Bone Therapeutic, where he led investor relations and business development. The man has 15 years of experience in biotech finance, business development and biomedical research. THERAtRAME’s CEO goes to Marc Zabeau, an investor and entrepreneur with more than 40 years of experience in founding biotechnology companies such as Helix, KeyGene or Methexis.

The abstract

  • Investment funds, private investors and the Walloon Region have just invested 4.5 million euros in THERAtRAME, a new spin-off from the University of Liège and WelBio.
  • She has carried out innovative research on the role of the transfer RNA (tRNA) epitranscriptome during phases of gene expression by messenger RNA, which allow for a better understanding of cancer development.
  • It uses predictive mathematical models powered by artificial intelligence to develop new therapies and target patients who are likely to be most sensitive to them.
  • She expects clinical trials to begin by 2026.

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