EU Funding to Engineer Yeast for RNA Production
EU Funding to Engineer Yeast for RNA Production

April 26, 2022

EU Funding to Engineer Yeast for RNA Production

The Yscript consortium will develop a tailor-made yeast-based messenger RNA factory platform for large scale and cost-effective manufacturing of mRNA therapeutics. To achieve this, TRON partners with CNRS, INRAE (France), UAVR, UBI (Portugal), IBCH (Poland) and BIA Separations DOO (Slovenia).

Messenger RNA vaccines have become a game-changer in the fight against COVID-19, and mRNA is considered for a vast array of therapeutic applications. Currently, in vitro transcription (IVT) is the only available technology for mRNA production, however, it relies on a complex supply chain and a costly purification process. This is a major problem hampering large-scale IVT production and high production costs are a problem for low-income countries.

The Yscript consortium aims to establish a specific mRNA bioproduction process in yeast. Although yeast has been employed for the production of several biopharmaceuticals, RNA production has never been attempted. The challenge is to express mRNA for a gene-of-interest (GOI) on demand and to separate it from yeast’s own mRNA. The project attempts to do this by assembling mRNA-of-interest in specialised compartments, from where it could be specifically purified.

“Yscript will promote the development of affordable mRNA therapeutics that are available to everyone and hence will foster the well-being and health of citizens all over the world”, Prof Pichon (CNRS) is convinced. The project has the potential to provide Europe with a cost-effective approach to defend itself against future infection outbreaks, but also to expand its arsenal to treat chronic diseases, which are on the rise due to population aging. Thus, the project will have a positive impact not only on health, but also on economy and society.

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