Engineering yeast for mRNA production: EURICE is partner of new European Innovation Council Pathfinder project Yscript

The Yscript consortium sets out to develop a tailor-made yeast-based messenger RNA (mRNA) factory platform for large-scale and cost-effective manufacturing of mRNA therapeutics. Currently, in vitro transcription (IVT) is the only available technology for mRNA production, however, it relies on a complex supply chain and a costly purification process. This is a major problem hampering large-scale IVT production and high production costs are a problem for low-income countries. Within Yscript, eight partners from five countries are working together over the next three years to overcome this obstacle.

The EU has selected the consortium, which is led by Prof. Chantal Pichon from CNRS and University of Orléans, for funding in the first round of the new Horizon Europe framework as part of the prestigious European Innovation Council (EIC) Pathfinder programme. With this programme the EIC supports the exploration of bold ideas for radically new technologies. It welcomes the high-risk / high gain and interdisciplinary cutting-edge science collaborations that underpin technological breakthroughs.

Within Yscript, EURICE will support the project management team and take the lead in project communication, dissemination and exploitation activities. “We are proud to be part of this exciting new EIC Pathfinder project, which expands our portfolio of RNA therapeutics projects such as B-SMART, cmRNAbone and EXPERT", says Jörg Scherer, CEO of EURICE. “We are looking forward to bringing in our extensive expertise and experience in developing outreach and valorisation strategies – for biotechnology projects in particular – to help the team achieve the ambitious and revolutionary goal of the project.”

mRNA bioproduction in yeast

The Yscript consortium aims to establish a specific mRNA bioproduction process in yeast. Although yeast has been employed for the production of several biopharmaceuticals, RNA production has never been attempted. The challenge is to express mRNA for a gene-of-interest (GOI) on demand and to separate it from yeast’s own mRNA. The project has the potential to provide Europe with a cost-effective approach to defend itself against future infection outbreaks, but also to expand its arsenal to treat chronic diseases, which are on the rise due to population aging. Thus, the project will have a positive impact not only on health, but also on economy and society.

International consortium

Yscript brings together world-class expertise in mRNA therapeutics and yeast RNA biology, yeast engineering and bioproduction, in extraction, purification and stabilisation of biomolecules as well as in scientific management consulting.

Health sciences, molecular biology, biophysics:

  • CNRS (France)
  • TRON gGmbH (Germany)
  • IBCH PAS (Poland)

Biotechnology:

  • INRAE (France)

Materials chemistry, computational chemistry and chemical engineering:

  • UAVR (Portugal)
  • UBI (Portugal)
  • BIA Sep (Slovenia)

Project management, communication:

  • EURICE (Germany)

For more information, please visit www.yscript.eu.

Yscript has received funding from the European Innovation Council (EIC) under grant agreement No 101047214. The EIC receives support from the European Union’s Horizon Europe research and innovation programme.

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Life Sciences, Food & Biotech
Yscript
Yeast cell factory for mRNA bioproduction
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Michaela Scheid
Senior Project Manager
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