OliX launches mCureX for mRNA vaccines

OliX Pharmaceuticals spins out new subsidiary for developing mRNA vaccines and therapeutics

February 9, 2021
Mel J. Yeates

SUWON, South Korea—OliX Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a developer of RNAi therapeutics, has announced the establishment of mCureX Therapeutics, Inc., which was created to focus on research and development of messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and therapeutics.

mCureX, which will be based in South Korea, plans to initially focus on developing mRNA-based vaccines for human diseases, including COVID-19. The company also wants to create vaccines for animal diseases as well.

“We launched mCureX to address a number of health crises, including the global public health crisis of COVID-19, leveraging our expertise in RNA-based drug discovery and development. mRNA represents a rapidly advancing and nimble platform that complements our existing RNAi drug development platform, as we develop therapeutics and vaccines for urgent and unmet medical needs in Korea and beyond,” stated Dr. Dong Ki Lee, founder and CEO of OliX Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Dong Won Shin has become chief technology officer of mCureX, and he will also oversee mCureX’s R&D department. Shin has over 20 years of experience in mRNA and oligonucleotide chemistry, and served most recently as director of oligonucleotide chemistry at OliX Pharmaceuticals, as well as senior staff scientist at TriLink BioTechnologies. He developed the foundational technology of mRNA 5’-capping, which has been used in the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.

OliX has also announced the addition of Dr. Anton McCaffrey to mCureX’s scientific advisory board. He will provide guidance on the company’s research and development strategy, as well as its emerging pipeline. McCaffrey has over two decades of experience in oligonucleotide therapeutic research and development, and previously served as senior director of R&D biology at TriLink BioTechnologies, and as assistant professor at the University of Iowa.

In December, OliX Pharmaceuticals completed a capital funding round of 41.5 billion won (≈ $37.2 million) to support the company’s U.S. expansion, and to advance its pipeline globally. The funding is earmarked for construction of an RNA synthesis GMP facility at OliX’s San Diego location, which will initially produce investigational therapeutics for in-house clinical testing. The facility also has the potential for manufacturing commercial RNAi therapeutics in the future. 

The investment will provide R&D and operating funds for advancement of the company’s core pipeline, including OLX101A for hypertrophic scars, OLX301A for age-related macular degeneration, and OLX301D for subretinal fibrosis. As well, the funding will be used for advancing the company’s GalNAc-based liver therapeutic pipeline.

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