Ractigen Therapeutics is an early-stage pharmaceutical company committed to bringing to market first-in-class therapies designed to selectively restore the expression of therapeutic genes silenced in diseased cells. Its core technology is based on a paradigm-shifting discovery made at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) known as RNA activation (RNAa). Founded in 2016 by the pioneers in the field, Ractigen is developing a rich pipeline of candidate medicines for patients with unmet need.
About the name Ractigen: R·acti·gen (răk’tijən) signifies RNA activates genes.
Ractigen Therapeutics has raised 50 million RMB (~8 million USD) in venture financing and occupies a 2400-sqr meter, four-storied building in the modern Industry Park of Life and Health Science of Rudong, Jiangsu, China.
Ractigen is devoted to creating groundbreaking therapeutics based on a revolutionary technique called RNAa (RNA activation). Our platform utilizes short, non-coding oligonucleotides to specifically target and up-regulate therapeutic genes inside cells of the body. RNAa offers a natural approach to increase endogenous messenger RNA and protein production in absence of recombinant DNA overexpression system (e.g. viral gene therapies). Our goal is to offer a practical solution to combat disease at the genetic and epigenetic level.
Ractigen is led by a cohesive team of scientists and professionals with a broad background in oligonucleotide research and drug development including the inventors of the RNAa technology, biotech entrepreneurs, and experts in drug discovery.
With a background of 13 years’ experience as a physician and 20 years in basic research, Dr. Li co-founded Ractigen Therapeutics in 2016. Prior to that, he held an Associate Professor in Residence position in the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) until 2015 and a specially appointed Professor position at Peking Union Medical College Hospital of Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences until 2017. Dr. Li is globally recognized for his groundbreaking work on RNA-mediated gene activation (RNAa), a technology that has advanced into human clinical trial. He has authored or co-authored over 80 publications which have received over 9500 citations. He is the inventors of 4 issued and 2 pending US patents. He received multiple research grants from both governmental and non-governmental organizations including a prestigious NIH Director's Transformative R01 (T-R01) Award in 2009. He is an invited speaker at many national and international conferences, universities and companies around the world.
Dr. Place has unparalleled expertise in the field of RNAa with an entrepreneurial background in biotech spanning nearly 10 years. He was a key scientific lead working alongside Dr. Li during the initial discovery of RNAa and helmed the team collaboration between Alnylam Pharmaceutics,
Dr. Moo Rim Kang received his Ph.D. in Pharmacy from Chungnam National University, Korea in 2008. In August 2010, he joined the Li lab at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) as a postdoctoral fellow. His postdoctoral work involves the anti-tumor effect of NKX3-1 activation by RNAa (RNA activation) and small activating dsRNA-based therapeutics targeting CDKN1A for the treatment of bladder cancer. Dr. Kang is a well-trained research scientist specialized in cancer biology and focused on evaluation of drug candidates not only small molecules but also small nucleic acids including saRNA. He has extensive experience with in vivo studies such as human tumor xenografts, live surgery and immunohistochemistry and has strong technical skills in molecular/cellular biology. He has authored and co-authored over 30 peer-reviewed articles. Dr. Kang joined Ractigen Therapeutics in December 2016. Prior to that, he was the team leader in degenerative arthritis research company (Garam E&C) in Korea.
Dr. Jianxin Chen received his Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from University of British Columbia, Canada, in 1991. He is a well established chemical professional and technical executive in the field of pharmaceutical and biotech industry with his near 30 years’ experience spanning from R&D in medicinal and process chemistry, product development, and RNA therapeutics to commercialization, business development, corporate leadership and administration. Before joining Ractigen Therapeutics, Dr. Chen worked as a scientist to executive in several biotech and pharmaceutical companies including Biomics Biotechnologies (VP/CTO), Acuitas Therapeutics (Director), Arbutus Pharmaceuticals, Neuftech Chemicals and Kinetek Pharmaceuticals. During his career as a consultant to and in collaboration with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, he has played a pivotal role in developing technologies for systemic delivery of siRNA therapeutics, which led to the first ever commercial launch of FDA approved siRNA drug Onpattro.
Dr. Corey received his B.A. in Chemistry from Harvard University in 1985 and his Ph.D. in Chemistry in 1990 from UC Berkeley under the guidance of Dr. Peter Schultz. After postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Charles Craik at UC San Francisco, Dr. Corey started his independent career at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center where he is now the Rusty Kelley Professor of Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Corey’s research focuses on the discovery of nucleic acids as leads for therapeutic development and on novel pathways for RNA-mediated control of gene expression.
Dr. Shuman is currently an Emeritus Professor of Medicine and Emeritus Chief of Hematology and Oncology in the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). His career encompasses laboratory and clinical research, patient care, and teaching at UCSF Medical School and Medical Center, one of the top 5 Hospitals and one of the top 10 Graduate Schools in several scientific disciplines in the U.S. He uses his considerable scientific and clinical experience to stimulate and accelerate interdisciplinary research between scientists and clinical investigators. Most recently, he has devoted considerable effort to the commercial sector of Health Care including drug discovery, Medical A.I. Dr. Shuman was funded for 30+ years continuously by the NIH and the NCI as a Research Principal Investigator. He is author or co-author of more than 100 research papers in peer-review journals including Science, Cell, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, etc. He has led several NIH funded interdisciplinary cancer research grants examples of which include Proteases in Cancer and a Prostate Cancer Specialized Program of Research Excellence (SPORE), and others from the NIH and the NCI. Currently he serves as a Research Advisor for the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center Multiple Myeloma and Prostate Cancer Programs.