RNATICS was founded in 2021 as a spin-off from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany, to bring RNA therapy to organs previously not accessible to RNA therapeutics. The underlying technology is based on >15 years of research on RNA therapy and nucleic acid chemistry.
Johannes Schmidt, PhD
Johannes Schmidt is a biomedical scientist by heart and training, focusing on translating scientific concepts and findings into products and bringing innovation to the patient. Before building RNATICS together with the founders, he was Managing Director of the TUM Venture Lab Healthcare building a support network at Technical University of Munich to consult and encourage academic entrepreneurs on their journey to translate their science in the fields of biotech, medtech and digital health. He is well connected in the Munich entrepreneurial healthcare ecosystem.
Johannes Schmidt started his career at McKinsey & Company where he worked as an engagement manager in the pharma practice for 3 years. He then started his own start-up developing an autologous cell therapy and thereafter led the clinical development of a novel drug candidate at a Munich-based start-up.
Johannes Schmidt holds a PhD in Clinical Medicine from University of Oxford and a MSc degree in Molecular Biotechnology from Technical University of Munich.
Thomas F. Frischmuth, PhD
As a serial entrepreneur, Thomas Frischmuth contributes >30 years of experience in the life science and medical device field as researcher, advisor, consultant, and in management positions. He brings his extensive expertise in the development and chemical synthesis (small to large scale) of oligonucleotides and carbohydrate ligands in the context of drug development to RNATICS. To date, Thomas Frischmuth developed and evaluated 6 drugs pre-clinically and brought 4 of them into clinical evaluation studies Phase I and II. One drug is marketed for cancer treatment.
In 2003, Thomas Frischmuth founded his own private venture fund company (Gradus Venture GmbH).
Stefan Engelhardt, MD, PhD
Stefan Engelhardt is an internationally renowned expert in non-coding RNA research. He holds a specialist degree in Pharmacology and is full professor and director of the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at Technical University of Munich (TUM) since 2008. Stefan Engelhardt founded and coordinated several national and international research consortia including the DFG-Collaborative Research Centre (SFB-TRR267) on ‘Non-coding RNAs in the cardiovascular system’. Stefan Engelhardt has contributed landmark studies as to the role of non-coding RNAs in disease and pioneering work on microRNA-based therapeutics.
At RNATICS, Stefan Engelhardt serves as CSO and oversees research and development.
Klaus F. Rabe, MD
Klaus Rabe has a track record of approximately 25 years in clinical research in pulmonary medicine and has been the coordinating investigator of several drug development programs and pivotal trials. He published more than 500 publications in the field of pulmonary medicine.
Klaus Rabe is the CMO and medical director of LungenClinic Großhansdorf GmbH, one of the largest clinical centers on respiratory disease in Germany and heads the department of Pulmonary Medicine. He is currently co-director of the German Center for Lung Research (DZL) and member of the steering committee of the Exzellenzcluster Präzisionsmedizin für chronische Entzündungserkrankungen (PMI). He served as president of the European Respiratory Society and the German Society for Pulmonology, and together with colleagues was awarded the Balzan price in 2019 for his translational pulmonary research.
At RNATICS, Klaus Rabe serves as CMO and leads the clinical development of RNATICS’ lead compound.
Director of Research & Development
Deepak Ramanujam, PhD
Deepak Ramanujam is a highly skilled scientist with over 10 years of experience in non-coding RNA research, particularly microRNAs. In his previous position at Technical University of Munich (TUM), his research group focused on novel RNA therapies targeting microRNAs in respiratory and cardiac diseases. He is co-inventor of RNATICS’ core targeting technology. His experience at TUM has equipped him with the skills needed to manage large-scale research projects, foster a culture of innovation, and drive scientific breakthroughs.
As Director of Research & Development, Deepak Ramanujam will lead the drug development activities of RNATICS to identify new therapeutic targets in the treatment of respiratory diseases and bring in his expertise in pre-clinical development of microRNA therapeutics and genetic engineering to develop innovative therapies and improve patient outcomes.
He holds a PhD in Molecular Cardiology from Technical University of Munich, an MSc in Biomedical Immunology from University of East London, and a BTech in Industrial Biotechnology from Anna University, India.
Christina Beck is a pharmacist by training with more than 6 years of experience in the field of non-coding RNAs, especially microRNAs.
During her studies abroad at the University of California San Diego, she acquired expertise in drug design and drug development. Her subsequent PhD project at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) focused on cell type-specific effects of microRNA therapeutics in cardiac and pulmonary diseases. Her time at TUM provided her with expertise in targeted drug delivery, bioinformatics, and project management. In addition, her participation in several national and international conferences and collaborations allowed her to build a strong network in the field of oligonucleotide therapeutics.
At RNATICS, Christina Beck is working on expanding the drug pipeline identifying novel applications of RNATICS’ technology, as well as the management and coordination of the upcoming clinical trials.
Thomas Tuschl, PhD
With a scientific career spanning over 30 years, Prof. Tuschl is a world-renowned authority in the field of small non-coding RNA and currently professor for RNA Molecular Biology at The Rockefeller University in New York, USA. His contributions have led to groundbreaking discoveries and understanding of the regulatory function of non-coding RNAs. Prof. Tuschl's expertise and experience will undoubtedly guide RNATICS towards pioneering innovations in novel RNA therapies.
Roger Hajjar, MD
A distinguished academic and translational researcher, Dr. Hajjar is currently the Head of the Mass General Brigham Gene and Cell Therapy Institute in Boston, USA. He is an internationally recognised scientific leader in the field of gene therapy and has made significant advances in the translation of gene therapies into human application. Dr. Hajjar's wealth of knowledge will support RNATICS in its mission to translate scientific excellence to patients.
Horst Domdey, PhD
A visionary networker and seasoned executive with an exceptional track record in shaping the biotech ecosystem in Germany, Prof. Domdey has successfully guided numerous biotech start-ups from academic spin-out to successful, independent companies. His strategic insights will help RNATICS navigate the complexities of the market as it develops into a clinical-stage company.
Ulrich Granzer, PhD
A regulatory thought leader in bringing nucleic acid therapies into clinical development, Dr. Granzer has an extensive background in regulatory submissions to both the European and US health authorities. He founded one of the leading regulatory consulting firms responsible for the majority of regulatory submissions for nucleic acid therapies (phase I to marketing approval). His leadership and advocacy for RNA therapies aligns with RNATICS' mission to establish RNA therapies as a successful modality in the treatment of inflammatory lung diseases.
Partner / Collaborations
Am Klopferspitz 19a