Published 27th November 2017

Portfolio Company Storm Therapeutics publishes data in Nature linking an essential RNA-modifying enzyme to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML)

Touchstone Innovations portfolio company STORM Therapeutics has today published data in the internationally renowned scientific journal Nature linking an essential RNA-modifying enzyme to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML).

STORM Therapeutics is a University of Cambridge spin-out, translating the ground-breaking work of Professors Tony Kouzarides and Eric Miska in RNA epigenetics into the discovery of first-in-class drugs in oncology and other diseases.  It is the leading company currently tackling disease through modulating RNA modifying enzymes and is developing a unique platform to address these enzyme classes, including RNA methyltransferases.  

The new study reported in Nature has found an unexpected new drug target for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) that could open new avenues to develop effective treatments against this potentially lethal disease.  The results of the study show that inhibiting the METTL3 gene destroys human and mouse AML cells without harming non-leukaemic blood cells. The paper, entitled “Promoter-bound METTL3 maintains myeloid leukaemia via m6A-dependent translation control’, goes on to reveal why METTL3 is required for AML cell survival, by deciphering the new mechanism it uses to regulate several other leukaemia genes.

Professor Tony Kouzarides, Founder of STORM Therapeutics and joint project leader from the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, commented:

“This is an important milestone in the understanding of RNA epigenetics and its links to disease. These findings highlight the importance of RNA modifying enzymes in cancer, and in particular in leukaemia.”

Keith Blundy, CEO of STORM Therapeutics, added:

“STORM leads the field of harnessing the power of RNA epigenetics as a new area of important biology. Publication of these data, in such a prestigious journal as Nature, is validation of the world class science on which the Company was founded.”

Read STORM's statement