3:58 PM
 | 
Apr 25, 2019
 |  BC Innovations  |  Emerging Company Profile

Cell Mogrify directly reprograms cells in vivo

How Cell Mogrify bypasses iPS cells to reprogram cells directly

Editor's Note: This article was updated on Apr 29, 2019 at 7:58 AM PDT

Mogrify is jumping ahead of the technologies that have propelled the stem cell field by creating a platform that bypasses intermediate steps, and opens the door to in vivo reprogramming.

Cell Mogrify Ltd. uses small molecules and transcription factors to directly convert one mature cell type to another without first reverting through a pluripotent state, allowing it to avoid the problems of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.

Cell therapies derived from iPS cells can be unstable due to the immature state they take before differentiating into a new cell type, and carry a heightened cancer risk if any pluripotent cells remain in the final product.

The company’s Mogrify platform skips the pluripotent state by using algorithms to predict which direct cell conversions are possible, and to identify the recipes of reprogramming factors needed.

According to CEO Darrin Disley, Mogrify is the first to company to bypass the pluripotent state in a systematic way.

Most other methods to directly reprogram cells rely on costly and time-consuming trial and error. For sets of four transcription factors, there are about one billion possible combinations, so the search space is extremely large.

The other methods also focus on transcription factors for reprogramming, which are good tools for manipulating cells in vitro, but are difficult to deliver in vivo and could lead to side effects if they aren’t selectively targeted.

“Each optimized recipe resulting from our platform is patentable composition of matter. We consider ourselves an IP generating business.”

Darrin Disley, Cell Mogrify

In contrast, the Mogrify platform takes a few months to identify the right combinations, and takes the process a step further by finding small molecules that have the same effect as the transcription factors, making in vivo reprogramming a feasible possibility.

“Others have directly reprogrammed certain cells, but I’m not aware of anyone else doing in vivo conversion. That’s been the Holy Grail of regenerative medicine,” said Disley.

While the company launched in 2016, it has almost a decade of research backing its algorithms, and has cancer biology and genetics...

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