The Nucleic Acid Therapy Accelerator (NATA) is a new national research initiative with a mission to accelerate the development of nucleic acid therapeutics, while firmly anchoring the nucleic acid (NA) therapy industry in the UK for many years to come.
The NATA will be at the Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, at the heart of a growing Life Health Cluster. It will benefit from and contribute to the campus’ world-class scientific talent, ecosystem and related facilities, including the Research Complex at Harwell and the new Rosalind Franklin Institute.
The NATA is currently being run by an interim team of experienced industry and academic scientists and managed by an interim director, Professor Matthew Wood.
There have been several recent high-profile NA therapy drug approvals; however, success has been modest and confined mainly to liver and local delivery indications. For NA medicines to truly effect a paradigm shift in healthcare, some major scientific and industrial challenges need to be addressed: precision delivery; safety; and the high cost of manufacture.
The NATA will work in partnership with key stakeholders across industry, academia and charities to develop research programmes to address these problems for the benefit of the whole NA community.
The NATA has the potential to see patients benefitting from improved health outcomes through a new generation of precision medicine; businesses gaining de-risked opportunities for drug development; researchers developing a greater understanding of nucleic acid therapies and innovative delivery technologies; and Patients will benefit from effective novel treatments and through treatment at earlier stages of disease and more effective delivery of therapies.
A key objective of the NATA is to help support and grow the UK’s NA R&D community. This will attract significant inward investment and drive growth in highly skilled jobs in medicines development and manufacturing.
The next 6 months will see the NATA open for business, with the appointment of a permanent Director and the opening of a national Hub at the Harwell Research Campus.