Production of small RNA molecules for muting long non-coding RNAs

GO-Bio 2 – Prof. Dr. Frank Buchholz – Dresden University Hospital | Eupheria Biotech GmbH

Stilisierte Darstellung eines DNA-Strangs

Dmitry Sunagatov - fotolia

Recipient: Dresden University Hospital
Funding: GO-Bio Phase I (01.03.2008 - 31.05.2011, 2.457.370 Euro)

Recipient: Eupheria Biotech GmbH
Funding: GO-Bio Phase II (01.06.2011 - 30.09.2014, 833.000 Euro)


In recent years, small RNA molecules have greatly enriched the toolboxes of molecular biologists. With their assistance, it is possible to selectively switch off the activity of genes. This property is exploited by basic researchers and molecular physicians in order to better understand specific cell processes or to provide therapeutic solutions to faulty gene functions. The phenomenon of RNA interference that is utilised in this process is based on short ribonucleic acids, so-called small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that have the ability to specifically interrupt protein production in cells. In the first phase of GO-Bio, the team led by Frank Buchholz successfully brought a procedure for the cost-effective and large-scale production of customised siRNAs up to market maturity. This involves the use of the enzyme endoribonuclease, leading researchers to name their platform ‘esiRNA Technology’. The company Eupheria Biotech GmbH was founded in Dresden in 2010 for the commercialisation of esiRNA Technology. In the meantime, the team has gained a major specialist in laboratory chemicals as a sales partner for the production of esiRNA.

In the second GO-Bio funding phase, Buchholz is planning the expansion of the application range of esiRNAs to incorporate a class of target molecules known as ‘long non-coding RNAs’. These include regulatory RNA molecules that comprise over 200 building blocks that are not converted into a protein in the cell. In their project, the researchers are planning to develop bioinformatic and molecular tools for the detection of such molecules in cells, before adapting the esiRNA Technology for the selective ‘muting’ of non-coding RNAs. If successful, this will significantly open up the areas of application for esiRNAs in genome research and medical system biology.