International Life Sciences Awards 2021

GHP / International Life Sciences Awards 2021 13 , Established in 2019, Oxford-based Ochre Bio develops RNA therapies for chronic liver disease, which is a top 10 cause of death, using a combination of genomics, machine learning and experimental biology on live human organs. Healthy donor livers are becoming harder to find because of the increasing incidence of people dying older or from obesity. As a result, many donor livers are too unhealthy to be transplanted and go to waste, with one in six patients dying while they are waiting for a new liver. By 2030, it is estimated that over half of donor livers will be discarded due to them containing too much fat. Obesity and age are rapidly becoming the main combined cause of liver failure, and a transplant has become the only solution so saving lives. Obesity and age are in fact the main risk factors behind many chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which result in four out of ten deaths. And as the population becomes older and more obese, this statistic continues to rise. Founded out of 15 years of leading liver genomics research and experience, Ochre Bio co- founders Quin Willis and Jack O’Meara along with their team examine human tissue and human genetics, with the goal of treating unhealthy donor livers so that they are more viable and can ultimately help the patient live longer. This would be done by developing an RNA drug which is applied to donor livers outside of the body before they are transplanted. Jul21789 Ochre Bio expects to begin clinical trials in 2023. When an organ is diseased, it doesn’t mean that every part of it is. Different parts will be at different disease stages, while some areas remain healthy. Ochre Bio builds datasets based on multiple biopsies, as well as temporal and spatial models of disease biology, and it has already completed sequencing of more than 1,000 organs, including fatty livers, livers with impaired metabolism and liver cell senescence. Although, some of the genetic underpinnings of these phenotypes can be surprising, such as the effects of autophagy on mitochondrial function in certain settings. This is a theme that is of particular interest to Ochre Bio at the moment. While there has huge success of antiviral therapies for treating hepatitis C infection, there has been slow progress when it comes to development of therapies for chronic liver disease. The field is still hindered by poor in vitro models, poor animal models, and a lack of biomarkers, meaning poor quality clinical trials. Ochre Bio’s distinctive approach has already attracted interest from prospective partners, who are either seeking access to its data or to its unique human liver tissue platform. The company’s focus, however, is on drug development, and it remains open to interesting collaborations. It has also opened a research lab in Taipei, Taiwan recently, enabling it to conduct extensive functional genomics work with human biopsies, further enhancing its silico model. It is Most Innovative Early Stage Biotech Company – UK looking to perturb every gene, including those that express long-non-coding RNA and protein, in every liver cell type, and then evaluate the consequences. Company: Ochre Bio Contact: Jack Omeara Email: [email protected] Website: