|Founded||Rochester, New York 2003|
|Products||Antiviral therapeutic lead compounds|
Number of employees
OyaGen is a Rochester, New York-based startup company that is focused on developing treatments for HIV. The company was founded in 2003 by Harold Smith, a professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the University of Rochester. OyaGen was founded on research conducted by Smith and Hui Zang, an HIV researcher at Thomas Jefferson University.
OyaGen's research has focused on developing drug-based treatments for HIV and the company has three lead HIV drugs based upon editing enzymes in preclinical development. The company is exploring ways to prevent HIV from disabling the production of APOBEC3G (A3G), a naturally occurring editing enzyme that stops HIV from replicating. A3G combats HIV infection by interacting with and mutating the virus' RNA. The mutations genetically damage the virus protein and render HIV unable to replicate which halts the spread of the virus. In laboratory testing, OyaGen was able to use drug therapy to shield A3G from HIV, which allowed A3G to function normally and halt the spread of the virus.
The company is also researching drugs that protect A3G from viral infectivity factor (ViF). ViF is a protein created by HIV that "tricks" the body into destroying A3G by binding to it. Interfering with ViF's ability to bind to A3G can effectively block HIV replication. OyaGen is researching several compounds that prevent ViF from disabling A3G, including A3G agonists, ViF destabilizers and ViF dimerization antagonists.
The company received seed funding from Trillium Group's University Technology Fund and the University of Rochester Medical Center. It has also received funding from the New York State Retirement Common Fund's Private Equity Program. The New York State Retirement Common Fund has invested approximately $1.4 million in the company since 2006. OyaGen's research has also been underwritten in part by the National Institutes of Health, which awarded grants to the company in 2011, 2012, and 2013.
- Michael Wentzel (12 January 2004). "UR Invests in Anti-HIV Startup". Rochester Chronicle.
- Thomas Adams (16 September 2013). "Henrietta firm OyaGen receives $150,000 investment". Rochester Business Journal. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Gail Dutton (1 October 2013). "HIV Researchers Seek a Potential Cure". Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- James H Miller; Vlad Presnyak; Harold C Smith (27 July 2007). "The dimerization domain of HIV-1 viral infectivity factor Vif is required to block virion incorporation of APOBEC3G". Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 601 Elmwood Ave, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. Retrovirology (published 24 November 2007). 4 (1): 81. doi:10.1186/1742-4690-4-81. PMC 2222665. PMID 18036235.
- Tom Tobin (2 April 2010). "Will health reform be shot in arm for biotech firms?". Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- Nishad Majmudar (1 September 2005). "OyaGen blazing path toward anti-AIDS drug". Rochester Democrat & Chronicle. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- Mariel Selbovitz; David Miller (5 March 2014). "The Deeper End of the Ocean: Host restrictive factors create research excitement". A&U: America's Aids Magazine. p. 52. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
- Salter, Jason D.; Morales, Guillermo A.; Smith, Harold C. (11 August 2014). "Structural insights for HIV-1 therapeutic strategies targeting Vif". Trends in Biochemical Sciences. CellPress. 39 (9): 373–380. doi:10.1016/j.tibs.2014.07.001. PMC 4511815. PMID 25124760.
- "State pension fund invests in Rochester venture". The Daily Record. 24 September 2010. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "DiNapoli Tours OyaGen, Touts State Pension Fund". Rochester Homepage. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "Awards summary for Fiscal Year". Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "Awards summary for Fiscal Year". Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- "Awards summary for Fiscal Year". Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools. 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2014.
- The dimerization domain of HIV-1 viral infectivity factor Vif is required to block virion incorporation of APOBEC3G
- APOBEC3G: a double agent in defense