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Factor Bioscience Granted First U.S. Patent for RNA-Based Reprogramming Technology
Date:7/31/2013

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The United States Patent and Trademark Office today granted Factor Bioscience the first patent covering methods for reprogramming cells using RNA, a technology with wide-ranging applications in biological research and personalized medicine. The patented methods can transform patient skin cells into stem cells more rapidly, efficiently, and safely than previous techniques.

"Reprogramming is an amazing process, when it works," explains co-inventor Dr. Christopher Rohde, Chief Operating Officer and Director of High-Throughput Technologies. "However, previous methods were burdened by cumbersome protocols, poor reliability, and woeful inefficiency. Our RNA-reprogramming technology overcomes all of these limitations while being faster and safer than the best available techniques."

Excitement has been growing in the reprogramming field since Dr. Shinya Yamanaka's Nobel Prize-winning discovery in 2006 that infecting skin cells with a specific combination of viruses could reprogram them to a pluripotent stem-cell state. However, efforts to achieve the same goal without using the potentially mutation-causing viruses had, until this point, yielded mixed results. "Many researchers have attempted to develop a reliable DNA-free reprogramming method, and more than one have claimed success," says co-inventor Dr. Matt Angel, CEO. "In every case, the reported method turned out to be unreliable at best, and more often than not, completely irreproducible. The grant of the first patent covering reliable DNA-free reprogramming technology brings us one step closer to the development of therapeutics based on safely reprogrammed cells."

The methods developed by Dr. Angel's team can be used with a wide range of reprogramming factors and cell types, and the company is making chemically-defined, animal component
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SOURCE Factor Bioscience
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