MicroRNAs: Commercial Products on the Horizon
Author: Ricki Lewis, PhD
With the first diagnostics set to debut within a year, the new research and development field of microRNAs is beginning to reveal its potential. This new report establishes a baseline for observing microRNAs’ maturation, including assessments of:
- The science and analysis of first-generation microRNA commercial applications
- The early adaptors and where they are heading with this emerging technology
- Clinical applications, which will begin in oncology, followed by infectious diseases, neurology, metabolic disorders, and cardiovascular diseases
- The youthfulness of the field of microRNA
- The status of the field, including promises and caveats, companies involved, and pertinent patents and intellectual property
- Companies that are either developing microRNAs as clinical tools, investigating microRNAs in basic research, or supplying reagents, kits, microarrays, bioinformatics tools, and other essentials
The report also includes interviews with experts at some of the companies involved, including those devoted to microRNAs, those at which microRNAs comprise part of the portfolio, and companies that enable the others. In addition, results of a quantitative online survey of individuals involved in microRNA R&D are included.
Survey Question: How long have you been conducting research on microRNAs?
Source: CHI Insight Pharma Reports – MicroRNA Survey – December 2007
MicroRNAs are a class of small, nonprotein-encoding endogenous RNA molecules that exert powerful effects on gene expression by destabilizing transcription and/or repressing translation of target messenger RNAs. They have profound functions, which scientists are just beginning to tease out. More than 5,000 microRNAs have been identified.
The human genome sequence encodes hundreds to thousands of microRNAs, and they regulate at least a third of the protein-encoding genes. MicroRNAs’ malfunction may lie behind many illnesses.
From an initial unheralded description in 1993 and then a set of stellar foundation papers around the turn of the millennium, microRNAs have been hurtling toward commercialization ever since. Recognition of the importance of microRNAs catalyzed development of tools and technologies to ease their investigation. And as more has been learned, bioinformatics prediction tools have evolved. The many kits developed for working with microRNAs have made possible the debut of the first clinical products in under a decade from the recognition of their discovery.
MicroRNAs: Commercial Products on the Horizon is a vital tool for anyone already or considering becoming involved in R&D in this field.
About the Author
Ricki Lewis earned her PhD in genetics in 1980 from Indiana University. She has published articles in a variety of magazines and journals and is a science writer for CHDI (Cure Huntington Disease Initiative). Dr. Lewis is the author of the widely used textbook Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, now in its eighth edition, original author of the introductory textbook Life, and co-author of two human anatomy and physiology textbooks and a biology text, all from McGraw-Hill Higher Education. She has been a genetic counselor for CareNet Medical Group in Schenectady, NY, since 1984. Most recently, Dr. Lewis has published a novel, Stem Cell Symphony, by Trafford Publishing. Dr. Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org