Dark Matter Blog

A Transition at Arrakis

June 26th, 2018
by Michael Gilman, PhD
CEO, Arrakis

Earlier this spring, Russ Petter – our Founder and CSO, very much the heart and soul of Arrakis, and a guy I’ve known for nearly twenty years – told me he had something he wanted to talk to me about and how about we do it over dinner. I didn’t think twice about it at […]

Targeting RNA – Lessons Learned from Oligos

May 8th, 2018
by James Barsoum, PhD
Senior Vice President of Biology, Arrakis

Arrakis’s mission is to drug the transcriptome.  The ability to modulate RNA biology using drug-like small molecules – we call them rSMs – will open up a vast, previously undruggable, target space.  New therapeutic capabilities will include altering the expression of proteins that cannot be targeted directly with conventional small molecules, as well as modulating […]

Drug-Likeness and RNA-Targeted Small Molecules

April 1st, 2018
by Thomas Hermann
Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at University of California, San Diego and Co-Director, UCSD Center for Drug Discovery Innovation

Only a minuscule fraction of the human genome is devoted to encoding proteins, yet proteins provide nearly 100% of the targets for currently marketed drugs. The few exceptions include antisense and RNAi oligonucleotides, some DNA-binding cancer therapeutics such as doxorubicin and cisplatin, and a chemically diverse group of antibiotics that interfere with bacterial protein biosynthesis […]

RNA Dynamics – A Bug or a Feature?

March 24th, 2018
by Donovan Chin
Director of Computational Drug Discovery, Arrakis

Though not nearly as famous as its double-stranded cousin, RNA is a fascinating molecule and its potential as a drug discovery substrate continues to unfold beyond merely transferring information from DNA into proteins. To perform its role in the cell, RNA must move, contort and adapt to a wide range of functional and regulatory requirements. […]

The Rime of the Ancient Medicinal Chemist: Structure, Structure Everywhere

March 23rd, 2018
by Jennifer Petter, PhD
Founder and CSO, Arrakis

Our mission at Arrakis is to find small-molecule drugs that bind RNA, or RNA-targeted Small Molecules (rSMs). One of the articles of faith that informs and motivates this mission is that non-ribosomal RNA folds into structures that present small-molecule-compatible pockets and that those structures mediate important biological events. And, just as importantly, that binding of […]

The prospect of RNA targeting using small molecules

December 13th, 2017
by David Chenoweth, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry University of Pennsylvania

Small molecules that bind to macromolecular nucleic acids are well known. Before the 1960s, dyes such as aminoacridines, were utilized by histologists and biologists to image specific sub-nuclear structures.1 This was perhaps the earliest recognition that small molecules can bind macromolecular nucleic acids. In 1961, the first nucleic acid-small molecule binding hypothesis (the “intercalator hypothesis”) […]

Why NOW for Targeting RNA with Small Molecules?

November 28th, 2017
by Jennifer Petter, PhD
Founder and CSO, Arrakis

In “The Right Stuff,” Tom Wolfe noted that astronauts were granted hero status before their missions, perhaps because no one expected them to return. Happily, Arrakis also has received a lot of laudatory attention just for launching the mission of drugging RNAs with small molecules – before we’ve even achieved it. The plaudits are lovely, […]

RNA State of Mind

October 25th, 2017
by Neil Kubica, PhD
Director of RNA Biology, Arrakis

Perspectives from the ‘Targeting RNA Using Small Molecules’ meeting @NYASciences #rSMs  Our team at Arrakis Therapeutics recently had the pleasure to co-sponsor the ‘Targeting RNA Using Small Molecules’ symposium at the New York Academy of Sciences. While several conference sessions over the years have focused on our favorite topic, including the (in)famous Gordon Conference that […]

Drugging the Undruggable: Transcription Factors

July 12th, 2017
by James Barsoum, PhD
Senior Vice President of Biology, Arrakis

As we battle to expand the reach of modern therapeutics to treat diseases with high unmet need, we confront the limitations in our armamentarium. Most often we are limited by biology – we don’t understand the molecular drivers of disease and consequently don’t know which targets to aim at. But the more frustrating situation is […]

Discovering a New World of RNA-Targeted Medicines

February 27th, 2017
by Michael Gilman, PhD
CEO, Arrakis

So here we are. Nearly two years in the making, much of it focused, fastidious work by founder Jennifer Petter (of whom much more below), capped by an exhilarating and exhausting sprint to the finish by an outstanding team, Arrakis Therapeutics has now lifted off. Today we announced a $38M Series A financing led by […]

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