rSM PROGRESS. DESTINATION PATIENTS.
Arrakis is on a path to bring powerful new RNA-targeted small molecule (rSM) therapies to millions of patients.

About Us

Arrakis Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company pioneering the discovery of small-molecule medicines that directly bind to and modify the biological function of RNA to treat disease. This new class of medicines, RNA-targeted small molecules (rSMs), can unlock the therapeutic potential of deeply researched, valuable targets that are not accessible at the level of their expressed, undruggable protein. Moreover, rSMs open the vast and largely unexplored transcriptome including RNA targets that are never translated into protein but can be drivers of disease.

Arrakis’ proprietary platform enables the identification of structures and pockets within an RNA, finds drug-like compounds that bind these pockets, evaluates the biological impact of binding, and optimizes drug candidates. Our discovery platform integrates leading-edge RNA bioinformatic and structural tools, curated chemical libraries, RNA-specific assays, and RNA-guided medicinal chemistry. This platform produces a pipeline of rSMs to treat a range of serious illnesses including cancers and other diseases where strongly validated but challenging drivers have been identified.

Arrakis brought together scientific leaders in RNA structure, chemistry, and biology to work alongside a highly experienced management team with a track record of building transformative biopharmaceutical companies and developing novel therapeutics.

The company is headquartered in Waltham, MA and backed by investors with unsurpassed experience in building pioneering biopharmaceutical companies.

 

Arrakis founding: The back story

Derived from blog
Discovering a New World of RNA-Targeted Medicines
February 27, 2019

Jennifer Petter is a creative and charmingly iconoclastic chemist, whose wit is as incisive as her chemistry. In her previous role at another startup, Avila Therapeutics, Jennifer stared down a medicinal chemistry challenge that conventional wisdom held to be impossible or at best ill-advised: development of covalent drugs, compounds that act by irreversibly inactivating their target enzyme. One by one, Jennifer and her Avila colleagues picked off the long list of dearly held reasons why covalent drugs would never work and developed a series of novel drug candidates. In early 2012, Avila was acquired by Celgene.

After three years at Celgene, Jennifer “retired.” But not to the golf course, or, more likely in her case, to breeding best-in-show collies. Instead, Jennifer prepared for her retirement by attending a Gordon Conference where, one fateful Thursday morning, she had a transformational experience listening to talks by Kevin Weeks of UNC and Matt Disney of Scripps on the prospects for drugging RNA with small molecules. Emboldened (or perhaps blinded) by her previous experience taking medicinal chemistry where the experts said it could never go, she decided: I want to try to do this—intentionally and systematically.

And so she went to work. She discussed her ideas with a long-time colleague Roy Lobb, who directed her to their former Avila compatriot and board member, Raj Parekh at Advent Life Sciences in London. Raj and his team were also working on putting together an RNA company and they decided to join forces with Jennifer. Alan Walts, a long-time Genzyme executive, now a venture partner at Advent, also got involved and brought in his long-time boss Henri Termeer. Together with Raj and the Advent team, Jennifer, Alan, and Henri founded Arrakis in October 2015.

 

Arrakis founding: The back story

Derived from blog
Discovering a New World of RNA-Targeted Medicines
February 27, 2019

Jennifer Petter is a creative and charmingly iconoclastic chemist, whose wit is as incisive as her chemistry. In her previous role at another startup, Avila Therapeutics, Jennifer stared down a medicinal chemistry challenge that conventional wisdom held to be impossible or at best ill-advised: development of covalent drugs, compounds that act by irreversibly inactivating their target enzyme. One by one, Jennifer and her Avila colleagues picked off the long list of dearly held reasons why covalent drugs would never work and developed a series of novel drug candidates. In early 2012, Avila was acquired by Celgene.

After three years at Celgene, Jennifer “retired.” But not to the golf course, or, more likely in her case, to breeding best-in-show collies. Instead, Jennifer prepared for her retirement by attending a Gordon Conference where, one fateful Thursday morning, she had a transformational experience listening to talks by Kevin Weeks of UNC and Matt Disney of Scripps on the prospects for drugging RNA with small molecules. Emboldened (or perhaps blinded) by her previous experience taking medicinal chemistry where the experts said it could never go, she decided: I want to try to do this—intentionally and systematically.

And so she went to work. She discussed her ideas with a long-time colleague Roy Lobb, who directed her to their former Avila compatriot and board member, Raj Parekh at Advent Life Sciences in London. Raj and his team were also working on putting together an RNA company and they decided to join forces with Jennifer. Alan Walts, a long-time Genzyme executive, now a venture partner at Advent, also got involved and brought in his long-time boss Henri Termeer. Together with Raj and the Advent team, Jennifer, Alan, and Henri founded Arrakis in October 2015.

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