hC Bioscience and 4SR Biosciences Join Forces to Expand Platform Development of tRNA-Based Therapies

January 17, 2023
Cambridge, MA

hC Bioscience, a pioneer in the development of tRNA-based therapeutics, has acquired 4SR Biosciences to combine technologies, IP, and know-how to advance the development of first-in-class tRNA-based therapeutics. Their technologies will be used to discover and optimize tRNAs capable of overcoming genetic errors to treat genetic disease and cancer. As part of the acquisition, Tao Pan, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a pioneer in tRNA technology and biology, will join hC Bioscience as a scientific advisor and member of its Scientific Advisory Board, Christopher Katanski, Ph.D., will join hC Bioscience as Director of Discovery Platform and Philip McGilvray, Ph.D., will join as Associate Director of Discovery Platform.

“This deal consolidates proprietary discovery platforms, IP, and scientific expertise that will greatly advance our ability to discover and develop tRNA-based therapies,” said Leslie Williams, CEO of hC Bioscience. “Bringing their powerful research tools and expertise in tRNA and structural biology in-house enables us to better understand fundamental mechanisms of tRNA biology and disease pathways associated with genetic errors and, importantly, how best to intervene with engineered tRNAs. We are excited for Drs Katanski and McGilvray to join us to advance tRNA as a therapeutic modality and for Dr. Pan, a leading authority and pioneer in the tRNA field, to join our Scientific Advisory Board.”

As part of the acquisition, hC Bioscience will bring 4SR’s technology in-house, including MSR-seq, a proprietary high throughput sequencing tool that measures tRNA abundance, modification, charging, and fragmentation in response to stress, varying biological conditions and genetic mutations. This can be applied to hC Bio’s PTCX (“patch”) platform to correct premature termination of protein synthesis as well as augment the Company’s SWTX (“switch”) platform designed to target rare codons in genetic disease and cancer.

“We have developed a powerful tool to understand tRNA and their modifications and their role in disease,” added Dr. Pan. “Joining forces combines complementary discovery platforms under the umbrella of a single organization with existing business and scientific expertise, delivery expertise, computational capabilities, and financial resources.”

4SR was founded in December 2021 out of The University of Chicago by Christopher Katanski, Ph.D. and Tao Pan, Ph.D. The company has recently leveraged their MSR-seq platform to develop engineered tRNA designed for partial rescue of missense mutations in genetic diseases.