Turn Bio expands mRNA platform with artificial niche tech

Turn Biotechnologies expands the potential of its mRNA platform by licensing unique artificial niche technology.

Turn Biotechnologies announced today that it has acquired the global rights for new artificial niche (AN) technology that can be used to restore muscle stem cells damaged by aging.

Longevity.Technology: California-based Turn develops medicines for currently untreatable age-related conditions. Today’s announcement is hot on the heels of last month’s news that it has acquired the global rights for ERA (epigenetic reprogramming of age) tech, which unwind the effects of aging at a cellular level. After Turn’s success with Yamanaka factors last year, this biotech seems to be going from strength to strength.

The company licensed its AN technology from Stanford University where it was developed by a researcher who serves as an advisor to Turn. AN technology is used to create a microenvironment that maintains stem cells in a quiescent state to repair or replace specific types of damaged tissue. The stem cell niche provides structural and trophic support and the appropriate homeostasis to regulate stem cell function.


“… By enveloping our ERA technology in the protective matrix of an artificial niche, we can reactivate muscle stem cells, as well as stem cells in tissues …”


Turn will use the niche technology in combination with its mRNA-based epigenetic reprogramming of age (ERA™) technology to restore specific cells’ youthful functionality, to trigger the body’s ability to fight age-related diseases.

“Our artificial niche technology expands the applicability of our ERA technology to a variety of diseases involving tissue that requires a microenvironment to maintain cell quiescence,” said Anja Krammer, Turn CEO. “By enveloping our ERA technology in the protective matrix of an artificial niche, we can reactivate muscle stem cells, as well as stem cells in tissues where quiescence is necessary to maintain stem cell functions.”

The artificial niche replicates the environment of muscle stem cells through enriched media and structural support via engineered muscle fibers (EMFs). This confocal microscopy image shows how EMFs replicate the shape and collagen content (green) of a muscle fiber (myofiber) to tether isolated muscle stem cells (blue). High resolution electron micrographs on right confirm muscle stem cell anchoring. (Source: Turn Biotechnologies). Source: Turn Biotechnologies

The combined use of Turn’s AN and ERA technologies may be able to restore function in hematopoietic, liver, brain, certain mesenchymal stem cells across different tissues and within the hair follicle.


“… aged muscle stem cells treated with this combination therapy fully regenerate age-related muscle dysfunctions.”


As with ERA, Turn Bio announced that it has filed for patents to protect its AN technology in major-market nations on six continents.

“This is significant for our pipeline because the combination of AN with our ERA technology in murine models shows increased potency,” said Jay Sarkar, Turn’s chief technology officer and a company founder who helped to develop the ERA technology. “The studies show that aged muscle stem cells treated with this combination therapy fully regenerate age-related muscle dysfunctions.”

Turn’s technology uses messenger RNA to produce instructions that induce cells to treat or prevent disease. Use of mRNA, which led to the quick development of two COVID-19 vaccines, promises to revolutionize the development of therapeutics by making that development safer, faster, more efficient and extremely tuneable to patient need.

Turn has financial backing from the Methuselah Fund, Formic Ventures and Shanda Group; the company is currently completing pre-clinical research on tailored therapies targeting indications in dermatology, ophthalmology, osteo-arthritis and cartilage damage and musculature.

Images courtesy of Turn Biotechnologies

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