HAYA Therapeutics Announces Funding from Swiss Innovation Agency Supporting Research Collaborations for Long Non-Coding RNA Therapies

May 3, 2022
  • New research partnerships with world-leading institutions University of Bern, University Hospital of Bern and Lausanne University Hospital
  • Non-dilutive funding will enable the development of therapies targeting lncRNA for cardiomyopathy and squamous cell carcinoma

LAUSANNE, Switzerland and SAN DIEGO – May 3, 2022 -- HAYA Therapeutics, SA, a company developing precision medicines that target tissue and cell-specific long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), today announced that Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency, is supporting two research collaboration projects between HAYA and the University of Bern, University Hospital of Bern and Lausanne University Hospital. Innosuisse is funding 50 percent of the total project costs of approximately CHF 3.1 million (US$3.3 million).

The first project will advance HAYA’s lead program, an antisense oligonucleotide targeting the lncRNA Wisper, a cardiac tissue-enriched driver of fibrosis in the heart. In collaboration with the Department for BioMedical Research at University of Bern and the Department of Cardiology at University Hospital of Bern (Inselspital), the two-year project will be focused on dosing studies, pharmacodynamics, and pharmacokinetics for this first-in-class therapeutic target for the potential treatment of non-obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. The study also includes state-of-the-art cardiac MRI read-outs to provide evidence for efficacy and translatability of the therapeutic approach and advancing it towards the clinic and in-need patients.

“The whole team at HAYA is extremely excited to see our lead Wisper-targeting antisense compound being evaluated in a translationally relevant preclinical model of heart failure,” said Daniel Blessing, Ph.D., Co-founder and CTO of HAYA Therapeutics. “Support from Innosuisse has been instrumental to enable this study and collaboration with the University and Inselspital Bern.”

“As a pioneer in the field of lncRNA, HAYA has made significant progress in developing a novel treatment targeting lncRNA for hard-to-treat cardiac diseases,” said Dr. Robert Rieben, Professor at the University of Bern. “With experience in preclinical cardiovascular research, we are excited to work with HAYA and support their efforts of bringing this therapy to patients who desperately need them.”

HAYA’s second project will aim to develop a next-generation oncology therapy targeting cancer-associated fibroblasts for the treatment of squamous cell carcinoma. Through a partnership with Lausanne University Hospital (Centre hospitalier universitaire vaudois, CHUV), the collaborators will use HAYA’s proprietary drug discovery engine, DiscoverHAYATM, to identify oncology-associated fibroblast-specific lncRNAs for the development of a precision RNA-targeted therapy.

“Since launch, HAYA has been diligently working on bringing our lead lncRNA-targeting antisense candidate for the treatment of heart failure closer to clinical testing. At the same time, we have been conducting studies using our innovative discovery engine to identify novel lncRNA targets outside of cardiomyopathy,” said Samir Ounzain, Ph.D., Co-founder and CEO of HAYA Therapeutics. “With this project funding from Innosuisse, we can continue our efforts in heart disease and use our technology beyond cardiology into cancer. This will open up tremendous opportunities in the discovery of oncology-based lncRNA targets.”

About HAYA Therapeutics

HAYA Therapeutics is a precision therapeutics company that discovers and develops innovative tissue- and cell-selective genomic medicines for fibrotic diseases and other serious health conditions associated with aging, including cancer. The company’s discovery engine focuses on long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) within the “dark matter” of the human genome – key tissue and cell-specific drivers of fibrosis and other disease processes – to identify novel targets and drug candidates with the potential for greater efficacy and safety than existing treatments. HAYA’s lead therapeutic candidate is an antisense molecule targeting Wisper, a cardiac-enriched master driver of fibrosis, which has shown in preclinical testing the ability to halt and potentially reverse the fibrotic processes underlying heart failure. The company is also developing a pipeline of lncRNA-targeting candidates for the tissue-specific treatment of fibrotic diseases in other tissues, including lungs, kidney, liver, and the micro-environment of solid tumor cancers. Headquartered at the life sciences park Biopôle in Lausanne, Switzerland with laboratory facilities at JLABS @ San Diego, HAYA is led by a world-class team of experts in lncRNA biology and fibrotic disease, and is supported by a strong investor consortium. For more information on the company, please visit our website at www.hayatx.com. Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Innosuisse

Innosuisse is the Swiss Innovation Agency. Its mission is to promote science-based innovation in the interest of the economy and society in Switzerland. The core of Innosuisse funding is the support of innovation projects: innovative organizations such as companies and start-ups develop new services and products together with universities and research institutions.


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