TechBio innovator spotlight: NonExomics

NonExomics logo NonExomics is headquartered in Boston, US since 2021 and has subsidiary branches in Cambridge, UK and Chennai, India. Interview with CEO, CTO, and Co-founder, Sudhakaran Prabakaran

What does the company do? 

Almost all current therapies target proteins that are made by two percent of the genome, known as the exome, but NonExomics has demonstrated and validated that the rest of the 98% of the human genome, called the nonexome, can also code and make proteins. Importantly, 80–90% of all disease mutations lie in the nonexome and hence to cure diseases it is important to understand the consequences of these mutations to the proteins discovered by NonExomics that are made in the nonexome.

How does the technology work?

"Think of genome like an iceberg – currently we only see the 2% of the proteins that are above sea level but what we are doing as a company is digging into the other 98% that lies below the water to see what those proteins are doing." - Sudhakaran Prabakaran, CEO, CTO and Co-founder

NonExomics have used their technology to query the entire human genome, transcriptome, and proteome and have identified around 250,000 never before discovered proteins. They have found these proteins are capable of forming structures involved in biological processes and are disrupted in a number of diseases. By applying their machine learning platform to patient-data at population scale, they have been able to identify more than 3,000 entirely novel targets strongly associated with 1,365 human diseases. These targets have been scientifically probed both at systemic and molecular level to investigate their druggability and the company plans to use this information to develop therapeutics to treat these diseases.

How will it be used? 

One disease where NonExomics are hoping to identify new treatments is amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS. This is a neurodegenerative disease and a number of genetic mutations that had previously been identified within the disease had been classified as unknown or benign, as people thought that these regions of the genome do not make proteins.

By applying their methodology to these regions of the genome, NonExomics has shown that the regions do actually make protein products. They have also discovered that mutations caused by the disease are creating a consequence to those proteins, such as prematurely fragmenting them or elongating them to completely disrupt their structure. NonExomics is now working to build a full understanding of ALS using this newly discovered data so they can then look at developing therapies to address mutations and treat the disease.

The future

NonExomics is already working with pharma companies to explore the druggable targets that it has identified and will be looking to licence out further drug targets in rare diseases and cancer to other pharma and biotech companies. Their longterm goal is to take their own targets through clinical trials.

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