In a pandemic that has taken millions of lives, the emergency use authorization of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in 2020 was undoubtedly a critical milestone. For scientists and researchers studying what they have believed for decades to be the limitless potential of RNA-based therapeutics, it has also marked a major victory.
These sophisticated medicines can help address a wide range of medical needs, either by “silencing” disease-causing genes in areas of treatment previously considered “undruggable” by small molecules or proteins, or by delivering instructions for protein production within a cell that triggers an immune response, such as with the COVID-19 vaccines.
The journey to this tipping point has been a slow burn. But there is now an explosion of opportunity for any company interested in pursuing the development of these transformative medicines created by new technologies and collaborations driving the democratization of RNA therapeutics.