HTG Molecular Diagnostics, Inc., (Nasdaq: HTGM) (HTG) a life science company whose mission is to advance precision medicine, has announced the creation of a new business unit, HTG Therapeutics. HTG plans to use this new drug discovery business unit to leverage its capabilities and expand upon the utility of the HTG EdgeSeq platform technology in the development of early stage drug candidates.
This new business unit is a direct result and extension of HTG’s nearly 20,000 gene mRNA panel (the HTG Transcriptome Panel) that is expected to provide full transcriptome gene expression data from much smaller sample loads using a simplified workflow with a more rapid turnaround time. The HTG Transcriptome Panel is expected to be commercially released in August and is currently being utilized by several participants in our previously announced Early Adopter Program.
The HTG Therapeutics business unit plans to use the HTG Transcriptome Panel and a full epitranscriptome profiling technology evolved from the original HTG EdgeSeq technology (HTG EpiEdgeSeq) for the profiling of RNA modifications. By leveraging these profiling technologies earlier in the drug discovery process, HTG Therapeutics is expected to generate lead compounds faster, and with superior efficacy and toxicity profiles.
In addition to the platform technology for molecular profiling, HTG is building a full machine learning-based chemical library design platform, including advanced docking modeling, which is expected to allow HTG and its collaborators to better predict binding properties of a drug candidate to its target. HTG has partnered with several collaborators who plan to contribute meaningful cohorts for the study of disease versus normal, treated versus non-treated and responder versus non-responder.
“HTG Therapeutics will enable us to take advantage of our transcriptomic and epitranscriptomic profiling technology and contribute to improving the existing drug development process. We can produce a profile with close to 42,000 data points per sample in three independent data sets which includes the ability to detect changes in RNA modifications, such as N6-methyladenosine (m6A), which has been increasingly implicated in various disease states,” said Marian Navratil, senior VP of research and development.
HTG has begun to assemble a team of proven industry veterans to lead this new business unit. We will also leverage the proven experience of our Tucson-based research and development teams to aid in advancing these drug discovery programs.
“We are thrilled to launch the HTG Therapeutics business unit, created to build on our expertise in RNA and apply it to drug discovery. Our historical focus on RNA, coupled with our expanding chemistry, transcriptome and epitranscriptome capabilities and the rapid emergence of RNA-targeted therapeutics have made this the logical next step in our mission to drive personalized medicine,” said John Lubniewski, president and CEO of HTG.
“The potential benefits of creating HTG Therapeutics became apparent over the past several months based on the successful completion of a series of proof of concept studies highlighting the potential to embed our RNA profiling technology into the drug discovery process. While completing these studies, we simultaneously began the assembly of an experienced team with extensive drug development experience to lead this endeavor and proceed with the building and testing of a differentiated library construction technology based on machine learning and AI.”
The initial focus of HTG Therapeutics will be to identify development candidates targeting RNA or RNA modifying proteins, which could be relevant in areas such as oncology, immunology, transplant, diabetes, and rare disease. These efforts will be aimed at the generation of high-quality primary data from HTG’s proprietary profiling platform from known and well annotated cohorts, overcoming the notable shortfalls of data mined from public databases. The company intends to leverage its extensive past experiences partnering with biopharma to collaborate throughout the drug development process. For these programs, HTG expects to initiate these partnerships early in the drug discovery process, rather than later in the clinical development stages of development, as it has in past collaborative development services programs.
“We will continue to invest in our existing life science tools and diagnostics business, including HTG EdgeSeq instruments, RUO panels and VERI/O lab service offerings, which we believe are the fundamental building blocks of our overall business. We believe the HTG Therapeutics business unit is a natural outgrowth of the knowledge and experience that our HTG employees have built over the years.
With the upcoming launch of the HTG Transcriptome Panel, and the new growth trajectory we believe HTG Therapeutics can create from our platform technology, we are extremely excited for the future of HTG as a leader in precision medicine solutions. We believe we are at the cutting edge of drug discovery with our disruptive approach, and that this new business unit gives us the opportunity to continue to meaningfully advance precision medicine,” Lubniewski said.