17 December 2021

Polpharma Group makes inroads into RNA technology

A groundbreaking RNA platform will be set up in Poland. It will help combat viral infections and neurodegenerative diseases. The platform will be a collaborative effort of the Polpharma Group and the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Polish Academy of Sciences (IBCH PAS).

The consortium of Polfa Warszawa (Polpharma Group) and IBCH PAS in Poznań was awarded the largest grant (PLN 93.8 million) in the competition for the implementation of RNA technology in Poland organized by the Medical Research Agency.

RNA technology is a highly effective novel approach to the development of medicinal products. The world has seen its groundbreaking potential in the creation of COVID-19 vaccines. It carries with it the potential to develop not only vaccines but also innovative drugs. The technology is an opportunity to develop, implement and produce in Poland drugs targeting diseases that continue to elude all known medical remedies, such as incurable diseases of the nervous system.

Scientists from Polpharma and IBCH PAS will work on the development of an RNA platform for vaccines and therapeutics. The funded project is expected to create a universal platform that will greatly speed up the development of vaccines for a variety of emerging viruses, not just SARS-CoV-2.

The Consortium project also includes research into RNA-based drug therapies. The technology has a great potential to reduce the malfunction of or even completely turn off disease-causing genes.

However, both in the area of vaccines and drugs, in addition to selecting therapeutically effective molecules, a major challenge lies in the development or use of suitable carriers that will be recognized by the body cells as their own, so that they are not destroyed and will be able to release the therapeutic part of the drug or vaccine.

Sebastian Szymanek, President of the Management Board at Polpharma S.A.:

“I’m glad that Polpharma will be the place where we’ll be developing cutting-edge technologies with the goal to treat patients more effectively. In Poland, there’re scientists with extensive experience in RNA research and companies that are capable of developing this technology. For us at Polpharma, this is a breakthrough moment. We’re joining in the competition with major global players with the aim of developing new drug technologies that are more effective and safer. This is also an opportunity to develop drugs for diseases, particularly neurodegenerative disorders, for which there’s currently no treatment”.

Prof. Marek Figlerowicz, PhD, Director of IBCH PAS:

“The project for which we’ve been awarded a grant is an opportunity for the rapid development of RNA technology in Poland. At the same time, it presents us with enormous challenges at the stages of designing and manufacturing vaccines or therapeutics, as well as developing ways to deliver them into the cell. The final solutions must not only be effective but also safe for the patient. I believe that IBCH PAS’s long-standing expertise in interdisciplinary research of nucleic acids – combined with Polpharma’s production capabilities – will provide Polish patients with modern and effective RNA-based therapeutic solutions designed and produced in Poland, in a few years’ time”.

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