CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—ReadCoor Inc., a company seeking to reinvent omics and pathology with its panomic spatial sequencing platform, and WAVE Life Sciences Ltd., a genetic medicines company focused on developing targeted therapies for patients impacted by rare diseases, announced in June the initiation of a research collaboration to develop a registry of brain cell network maps and advance WAVE’s nucleic acid chemistry for targeted delivery to the brain.
Over the next two years, ReadCoor and WAVE have agreed to develop a cell map of the mouse brain and to leverage it to characterize stereopure nucleic acid candidates in specific regions, cell types and subcellular compartments of the brain. This agreement marks the first major industry collaboration for ReadCoor, and increases the number of platform collaborations aimed at unlocking next generation targets for WAVE.
ReadCoor’s proprietary FISSEQ (florescent in-situ sequencing) platform is designed to provide critical spatial data by combining next-generation sequencing and three-dimensional imaging. This unique in-situ sequencing technique is expected to provide meaningful insight of disease state, treatment effects and outcomes at the molecular level.
According to ReadCoor’s website, “Our [FISSEQ] technology allows one to visualize the whole transcriptome with a single nucleotide resolution in individual cells and tissues in situ and identify the functional variant clusters based on the expression pattern. In addition to clustering gene expression patterns based on their spatial organization, our platform enables detection of DNA- or RNA-based sequence barcodes expressed in multiple cell types under multiple experimental conditions in parallel in situ. FISSEQ enables study of the functional organization of tissues and organs, as well as the relationship between genotype and phenotype after genome editing.”
“One application of FISSEQ currently in progress is to map the single-cell transcriptomics and neural connectivity of the brain. Measurement of the ‘connectome,’ or connections of neurons in the brain, is traditionally done by electron microscopy, which is not scalable to the whole human brain, and does not provide any information about the biology of the neurons themselves,” ReadCoor’s website continues. “Our strategy, which we refer to as Rosetta Brain, is to use FISSEQ of molecularly barcoded brains to read out both the connections between neurons and the molecular phenotype of the individual neurons. We believe this strategy will provide unique insights into how the organization of the human brain gives rise to cognition.”
Shawn Marcell, CEO of ReadCoor, said, “WAVE’s unique ability to rationally design nucleic acid therapeutic candidates and ReadCoor’s distinctive ability to deliver in-situ spatial data in cells are highly complementary. We are excited to expand the use of FISSEQ in our first industry collaboration with WAVE.”
WAVE’s drug development platform is designed to enable the development of stereopure nucleic acid therapeutics, with optimized efficacy, stability, safety and specificity. By leveraging ReadCoor’s technology, WAVE expects to increase its ability to identify transcriptome changes at the regional, cellular and subcellular levels within the central nervous system (CNS) and to expand its existing discovery capabilities for next-generation candidate development.
“WAVE’s drug development platform is particularly well suited to targets in the transcriptome. At the moment we know a lot about targeting certain cell types within the CNS; however, we expect that by undertaking adjacent cell types (e.g., neurons, glia) and cellular compartments (e.g., nucleus, cytosol) within those cell types, further opportunities are likely to be revealed,” Dr. Paul B. Bolno, president and CEO of WAVE, tells DDNews.
“At WAVE, one of our founding principles is that you cannot truly optimize nucleic acid therapeutics using mixtures of molecules. We believe the same is true when targeting biology using mixtures of cell types,” Bolno says. “We believe the ReadCoor platform will help enable significantly improved resolution of various neurons, astrocytes and glial cells, thereby assisting WAVE to efficiently select the optimal therapeutic modality for WAVE’s next generation of pipeline candidates.”
“WAVE will have high-resolution insights into the activity of nucleic acids across cell types and cellular compartments, to identify new targets and areas to extend our portfolio,” concludes Bolno. Near-term plans for the collaboration include “developing high-resolution FISSEQ datasets on cells and tissues within the central nervous system.”