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Canopy Biosciences Acquires Rights to New Johns Hopkins, WUSTL Gene-Editing Tech

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Research tools developer Canopy Biosciences announced today that it has exclusively licensed a novel gene-editing technology from Washington University in St. Louis and Johns Hopkins University.

The technology, called Tunr, involves targeting translation elongation by introducing consecutive adenosine nucleotides — known as polyA tracks — into a gene coding sequence of interest. As described in Nature Communications earlier this year, inserting polyA tracks into the open reading frame of an mRNA will suppress protein expression by decreasing the efficiency of the translation elongation phase leading to diminished production of protein and mRNA destabilization, thereby diminishing mRNA levels.

"Previously, researchers have only been able to completely delete … a particular gene," Canopy President and CEO Edward Weinstein said in a statement. "With Tunr, we can dial in the exact level of expression necessary, such as 10, 25, or 75 percent. This has become particularly important for new immuno-oncology drug targets like PDL1, which has a range of expression in cancer patients and is used to predict their responsiveness to the latest promising cancer drugs."

Canopy said that it has acquired the exclusive rights to key intellectual property covering the technology. Additional terms of the deal were not disclosed.