Wave’s purity progress
Wave reveals how it makes its stereopure oligos
Wave Life Sciences Ltd.’s latest data releases provide the fullest view to date into how the company synthesizes its stereopure oligos and the benefits that can be derived from the chemistry. But whether the technology represents a revolution or an evolution in the space remains to be seen.
Small molecule companies have long understood the value of stereopure compounds and devised methods to make or isolate them. However, Wave founder and original CEO Gregory Verdine told BioCentury that oligo companies had simply ignored stereochemistry before Wave launched in 2012.
None had developed a synthesis platform that could make “truly stereopure” drug-length oligos, nor had any rigorously searched for activities specific to stereoisoforms, he said.
“People were completely blithe to the fact that these molecules were horrendous mixtures of stereoisomers,” said Verdine. “Every chemist will tell you stereochemistry matters for every property of a molecule, and in fact that is now the classical test that medicinal chemists use for specificity.”
Verdine is a professor of chemistry at Harvard University and CEO of Fog Pharmaceuticals Inc., a staple peptide company he founded in 2015. Verdine has started 10 biotechs; his most recent newco, LifeMine Therapeutics Inc., announced a $55 million series A on Sept. 18.
Last month, Wave published its first peer-reviewed study on its stereopure oligo technology in Nature Biotechnology, and followed it with more data disclosures in a corporate presentation posted online Sept. 17.
Verdine told BioCentury the Nature Biotechnology paper showcased two advances: “We figured out how to make stereochemically pure oligos in a programmable way, and we cut to the chase in terms of which ones you should actually make to get improved properties.”
The company described stereopure oligos with heightened stability and defined a stereochemical code for boosting RNAse H-mediated degradation of target sequences. It