Cambridge University spin-out STORM Therapeutics has won an unspecified Biomedical Catalyst grant by Innovate UK to research and develop new drugs directed against a unique SARS-CoV2 protein using the Babaraham company’s proprietary RNA epigenetic platform.

The novel drug discovery platform enables the identification of first in class inhibitors targeting RNA-modifying enzymes for oncology, infection and inflammatory diseases.

The platform is exemplified by STORM’s METTL3 inhibitor (STC-15) which is planned to enter Phase 1 clinical trials in the second half of 2022 to evaluate its potential as an oral immunologic agent for the potential treatment of various human malignancies.

The Innovate UK grant will allow STORM to develop a drug acting on a key coronavirus protein that is not targeted by current treatments. Generation of such a drug will provide a valuable option for treating Covid-19 and other coronavirus diseases which can be used alongside existing therapeutic approaches or to address the impact from any emerging drug resistant virus strains.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused unprecedented damage to global health, society, and the economy. As part of the ongoing global response to the pandemic, it is important that society develops a suite of drugs to target coronaviruses and prepare against future outbreaks and variants.

Tim Edwards, chairman of STORM Therapeutics, said:

“We are delighted that STORM’s world leading expertise in this area has been recognised by Innovate UK to help us apply our research and development platform to aid in the global fight against Covid-19.”

“STORM’s unique platform paves the way to the discovery of first-in-class drugs for challenging diseases through modulating RNA modifying enzymes. The drug that we are developing has the potential to be effective against other viruses from the coronavirus family and be an effective treatment option for patients in any future coronavirus family outbreak.”

STORM Therapeutics, founded in 2015, is translating the ground-breaking work of Professors Tony Kouzarides and Eric Miska. The company is backed by blue chip investors Cambridge Innovation Capital, M Ventures, Pfizer Ventures, Taiho Ventures LLC, Seroba Life Sciences, and IP Group, who share the team’s ambitions to build a world-leading company in the field.