|Started in October 1999 as a
spin-out from the European
Molecular Biology Laboratory (Heidelberg, Germany) and the Max Planck Institute for
Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (Dresden, Germany), Cenix BioScience was founded
as the first biotechnology company to focus specifically on accelerating and broadening
the application of RNAi gene silencing technology towards the discovery and functional
characterization of human genes for the development of novel medicines in a wide
range of disease fields.
The high throughput (HT), genome-scale application of RNAi as a screening method to discover
genes based on their cellular functions was originally pioneered by the scientific founders of Cenix,
Drs. Echeverri, Gönczy and Hyman, who started this work in C. elegans as early as 1998
(Gönczy et al.,
2000, Nature 408: 331). By completing this seminal work (Sönnichsen et al., 2005, Nature 434: 462; see also Press
Release), Cenix built-up early and uniquely solid foundations for extending this expertise to more
Thus, as the advent of small interfering RNA (siRNA) technology in mid-2001 enabled the use of
RNAi silencing in mammalian systems, the company's main development activities focused squarely
on driving the broad and effective application of HT-RNAi methods in cultured human cells. More recently,
Cenix has expanded its scope of activities to also include miRNA-focused experimentation and the use of
siRNA technology in animals in vivo.
Commercial access to Cenix capabilities was launched in 2002, and has since focused first and foremost on premium,
fully-customized contract research offerings, through which Cenix has successfully advanced therapeutic programs
in a wide range of disease fields, for a long and still-growing list of top pharmaceutical, biotech and academic partners.
Cenix has also successfully developed major research product lines to drive the evolution of the RNAi field.
These have included designing one of the first human genome-wide libraries of siRNAs, commercialized as
Silencer® siRNAs by Ambion (now a part of Life Technologies Inc.), as well as a playing key role in the
development of that product line's successor, launched in Nov 2007 as Silencer®Select siRNAs. Cenix has also
worked closely with such partners as Munich-based Definiens AG, in the application of their advanced image analysis
technologies towards increasing the power of cell-based screening assays.
Building on a decade of specialized experience in this field, Cenix scientists now continue to advance clients' therapeutic
programs while actively developing important new tools and methodologies to further enhance the effective use of RNAi technology
both in cultured cells and animals, improving the quality of therapeutic drug discovery and development in a broad range
of disease areas.