OYAGEN is a biotechnology company formed on September 5, 2003, for the purpose of discovering, developing, and commercializing novel pharmaceutical therapies that seek to exploit RNA editing and DNA editing enzymes. OyaGen holds exclusive rights to important technologies originating from the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), the Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) and those filed by the company independently.
Over the past decade, a series of research advances have identified two families of related enzymes known as Editing Enzymes. These enzymes are endogenous cellular proteins, which chemically alter RNA or DNA molecules and thereby change the genetic code. OyaGen believes that there is a significant opportunity to “harness the editing process” to create therapies for a number of disease states. OyaGen’s initial therapeutic focus is a novel approach to the treatment of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This initial focus on HIV is driven by a series of ground breaking discoveries some of which have been recently published:
Miller, H.-J. Presnyak, V. & Smith, H.C. (2007) The dimerization domain of HIV-1 viral infectivity factor Vif is required to block virion incorporation of APOBEC3G. Retrovirology 4:81.
Smith, H.C. (2011) APOBEC3G: A Double Agent in Host Defense. Trends Biochem Sci. 36:239-44.
Salter, J.D., Morales, G.A. Smith, H.C. (2014) Structural Insights for HIV-1 Therapeutic Strategies Targeting Vif. Trends Biochem Sci. 39:373-80.
Polevoda, P., Mcdougall, W.M., Bennett, R.P., Salter, J.D., Smith, H.C. (2016) Structural and functional assessment of APOBEC3G macromolecular complexes. Methods 107:10-22.
Bennett, R.P., Stewart, R.A., Hogan, P., Ptak, R.G., Mankowski, M.K., Hartman, T.L., Buckheit, R.W., Jr., Snyder, B.A., Salter, J.D., Morales, G.A., Smith, H.C. (2016) An analog of camptothecin inactive against Topoisomerase I is broadly neutralizing of HIV-1 through inhibition of Vif-dependent APOBEC3G degradation. Antiviral Research 136:51-9
Salter, J.D., Bennett, R.P., Polevoda, B. And Smith, H.C. (2016) The APOBEC Protein Family United by Structure, Divergent in Function. Trends in Biochemical Sciences, Cell Press. 41:578-94.