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RNA Silencing Made Simple – Q&A with AUM BioTech

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Guru Singh, Director of Scientific Content of Science Exchange, recently spoke with Veenu Aishwarya, CEO of AUM Biotech. Follow the interview below.

May you briefly explain what AUM BioTech is?

AUM BioTech was founded to solve problems in biomedical research at the genetic level. We
have developed next-generation RNA silencing products that can enable researchers and
scientists to solve problems in genetics and conduct basic, translational and preclinical research
and help in their efforts towards drug discovery and development.

Many biotech companies in this space offer similar RNA silencing and gene editing services, but they employ different tools. How are you different?

The key difference in our research tools is self-delivery and the mode of action. Further, our next generation FANA – ASO technology can work both in vitro and in vivo for a wide range of study models and can be used to silence or regulate RNA modalities like mRNA, miRNA, and lncRNA with high specificity.

Conventional technologies have some key limitations that lead to longer discovery and development times. Often, scientists need to change (or significantly optimize) their RNA silencing technologies (and research tool set) when they advance their study models, especially from cellular to animal studies. They also face problems when they advance from cell lines to primary cells. This sometimes means that they need to start from square one and spend more time on R&D. AUM’s FANA technology offers a very unique class of RNA silencing products that can be used both for cellular and animal work in a wide spectrum of study models with a very easy to use single step rapid protocol. This can help shorten the time of both drug discovery and development and ultimately help save lives.

You’ve got my attention. Can you elaborate more on FANA ASO such as what is it and how it works?

FANA ASO technology works at the genetic level and helps understand the function and role of genes in a wide spectrum of study models. With our RNA silencing technology we can shut down any gene which is responsible for causing a disease and can potentially get rid of the disease. Since this technology can be self-delivered it can be used both in cellular and preclinical studies and most importantly can be developed as a drug.

This can be achieved by our next generation FANA technology which is a 2′-deoxy-2′-fluoro-beta-D-arabinose sugar modification on single-stranded antisense oligonucleotides that can be used for RNA silencing and regulation experiments. FANAs have very high binding affinity and specificity for their RNA targets. FANAs can be used to knock down mRNA lncRNA (using RNase H) or act as steric blockers (miRNA inhibition, translational control, exon skipping).

I see. How is this technology different from other alternatives such as CRISPR, siRNA, and shRNA?

Depending upon experimental needs, scientists always have the option to choose the right technology that can best solve their problems. Not many of these conventional technologies can achieve self-delivery and the transfection reagents used can sometimes be toxic to cells. Some of these technologies are also known to have off-target effects. FANA ASOs are capable of self-delivery, with efficient knockdown.

Does this mean that I do not need transfection or delivery reagents to knock down an RNA target?

Yes. A key advantage of FANA ASO technology is its ability to be self-delivered without the use of delivery (transfection) reagents or formulations. Further, FANA ASOs can be used for difficult-to-transfect primary cells including immune cells (like PBMCs, T cells, B cells, macrophages), neuronal cells, and endothelial cells. Additionally, FANAs can be self-delivered to very sensitive primary cells from diseased donors, and silence the desired RNA, which can accurately mimic the biology of the disease. More importantly, FANA ASOs can also be used for preclinical studies and target various regions of the body via multiple routes of administration.

CRISPR has been in the news in the last couple of years. How does your technology compare with CRISPR?

No one technology can solve all the problems in the world. Gene editing technologies like CRISPR often need delivery reagents, need optimization and may have longer protocols. FANA ASOs can be self-delivered without the use of any delivery agent. Furthermore, FANAs ASOs are made of next-generation chemical modifications that enhance chemical and intracellular stability, as well as binding to the target RNA. FANA technology also provides high fidelity for the RNA target and highly reduced off-target effects and can work seamlessly across a wide spectrum of study models. Ultimately, which technology to choose will depends upon the specific need of the researcher and we strongly believe that FANA technology can get the job done very efficiently.

What does your customer base look like?

We are blessed with a growing customer base. AUM BioTech’s genetic research products are now being globally used in several countries spread over 5 continents by researchers by academic labs, non-profit organizations, government institutes, and by top global biotech/pharmaceutical companies.

How would you describe your partnership with Science Exchange?

Science Exchange is leading platform that connects researchers with innovative product companies like AUM. AUM BioTech’s newly formed partnership with Science Exchange holds significant promise. We strongly believe that by collaborating with Science Exchange we will be able to reach out to customers much more rapidly than ever before and significantly expand our customer base. We look forward to advancing global biomedical R&D through this collaboration.

Before we wrap up, do you have any final message for Science Exchange users?

AUM BioTech is a company founded by scientists and creative thinkers. We understand  the complexities of biomedical research.  Working with us, Science Exchange users will not only get exceptional research tools but also an extraordinary customer service with technical support. We don’t just sell products but also help the users throughout the experiments wherever needed. Our goal is to solve users’ problems and make their research a success. We look forward to the opportunity to serve Science Exchange users.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
author

Gursatya "Guru" Singh

Director of Scientific Content & Marketing

Gursatya Singh, also known as "Guru", manages the development and execution of strategic marketing initiatives to improve platform suppliers’ visibility and user experience. He is a true guru when it comes to helping suppliers better advertise their research services and providing buyers with easy access to recently commercialized external innovations. Whether working as a lab researcher, publishing scientific papers, or helping start life science startups, Guru believes in making the scientific world more collaborative and connected. Guru holds a master’s degree in biotechnology from the University of Delaware. Follow him on Twitter @Gursatya.

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