Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator (NATA)

Nucleic acid therapeutics have world-changing potential for treating diseases. Rather than conventional treatments that target proteins, nucleic acid therapeutics target the genetic blueprint of a disease to achieve long-term ­or curative effects. The Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator mission is to accelerate the development of these treatments, as well as advancing the technology used to manufacture and administer them.

What is it?

The development and use of nucleic acid therapeutics is currently limited by the technology for their manufacture and the available techniques to target their delivery to specific organs and tissues of the body.

The Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator aims to capitalise on the UK’s world leading expertise in physical and life sciences within both industry and universities to address these challenges head-on.

By building strong and sustainable collaborations, NATA will combine know-how and state-of-the-art nucleic acid technologies from academia, biotech and industry. We believe that this unique multidisciplinary environment is essential to accelerate the translational research of nucleic acid-based therapeutics and develop new innovative technologies.

NATA is an intramural unit founded by the Medical Research Council.

How does it work?

Our scientific team devise and advise on efficient nucleic acid modifications and formulation strategies aiming to reach previously untargeted tissues with efficient, non-toxic delivery and clear therapeutic effects.

NATA’s work is disease agnostic and will initially focus on antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) , Small intefering RNAs (siRNA) and MicroRNAs (miRNA). Our long-term aim is to work on all types of nucleic acid therapies.

NATA consists of two main departments: the Chemistry Laboratory, equipped to develop, manufacture and deliver novel RNA-based therapeutics; and our biology department, which uses the latest technologies to examine novel approaches for the delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics into key organs or cells.

Based in the newly-built extension of Harwell’s famous Research Complex, the Chemistry Laboratory contains instrumentation to enable:

• Cost-effective synthesis of screening quantities to mid-scale custom oligonucleotide synthesis for collaborative projects
• The incorporation of novel chemistries and conjugates to improve stability, effectiveness, safety and delivery of nucleic acid therapies
• Purification and quality control
• The manufacture of high-quality materials for in vitro and in vivo validation of novel oligonucleotides therapeutics.

The full list of chemistry equipment can be viewed here.

The Biology Laboratory, also based in Harwell’s Research Complex, contains cutting-edge equipment for the measurement of RNA/protein expression and phenotypic changes in human and animal tissues or cells. From this we can measure the delivery and activity of nucleic acid therapeutics.

In conjunction with the MRC Mary Lyon Centre we can screen antisense, siRNAs and other nucleic acid-based therapeutics in cell lines, primary cells and animal models. For a full list of our analysis equipment for RNA expression, protein expression and single cells (including 3D detection), click here.

Who Can Use it?

Partnerships are a core component of NATA. If you would like to discuss potential collaborations with NATA Hub please contact us.

Visit the NATA Hub here.

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