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OligoNova sets up face-to-face conference

OligoNova, Sweden’s national initiative for oligonucleotide therapies, is gathering leading Swedish oligonucleotide experts for its first face-to-face network conference.

The conference is to be held at GoCo Health innovation City in Mölndal on April 25-26, 2022.

The primary aims of this gathering of researchers, clinicians and innovators, representing approximately 40 research groups from across Swedish academia, industry, institutes, healthcare regions and SMEs, are twofold, states the organizers. One aim is to coordinate and strengthen Swedish research and expertise in this area to facilitate the future development of oligonucleotide therapeutics in Sweden and another aim is to address challenges and catalyze collaboration opportunities relating to the development of oligonucleotides as ground breaking therapies that benefit patients.

Read more: A new national technology platform for oligonucleotide drugs

Therapeutic oligonucleotides

Therapeutic oligonucleotides are a new form of treatment based on short and highly modified RNA or DNA molecules. Originally, oligonucleotide therapies were developed to treat rarer genetic diseases. However, today oligonucleotides are seen to hold ever greater promise, as the approach has shown to be suitable to target many different types of disease. Oligonucleotides, such as inclisiran to lower cholesterol, have received regulatory approval and are available to treat patients.

“Oligonucleotides are quickly becoming the starting point for developing many new drugs faster and with higher precision than before. Through OligoNova, these new opportunities for drug discovery and development are becoming more widely available to the Swedish research community,” says Claes Gustafsson, Professor of Medical Chemistry at the University of Gothenburg and Chairman of the OligoNova steering group.

Tackle challenges and create solutions

At the OligoNova Network conference, Swedish experts will begin building national and international collaborations to tackle key R&D challenges and create innovative solutions, tools and knowledge that will, in turn, feed into the development of novel oligonucleotide therapies. Professor Tom Brown, University of Oxford, and Professor Anastasia Khvorova, University of Massachusetts Medical School, will deliver online inspirational lectures at the conference.

“We are currently focusing on solutions to promote productive cellular uptake and targeted delivery of oligonucleotides to specific tissues or cell types, but are open to address additional challenges in collaboration with national and international constellations,” says Pär Matsson, Professor of Pharmacokinetics at the University of Gothenburg and Scientific Director of the OligoNovaHub.

The OligoNova Hub

The OligoNova Hub, which gives researchers access to oligonucleotide technologies and a chance to develop their results further, is being built at the AstraZeneca BioVentureHub innovation hub as part of the SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development platform. The hub currently has an open call for projects and is recruiting a dedicated team of up to 12 scientists to build the OligoNova Hub infrastructure and make a significant impact on the Swedish drug discovery scene.

Photo: iStock