David Giljohann likens his company’s spherical nucleic acid (SNA) constructs to Koosh balls. But instead of having elastic strings extending from their core, this new class of immunomodulatory and gene regulating drugs are covered with nucleic acids that stick out in all directions. The arrangement allows these oligonucleotides to be taken up by all cell types and can be delivered throughout the body allowing them to overcome some of the limitations of existing nucleic acid therapies. We spoke to Giljohann, CEO of Exicure, about the company’s SNA therapies, how they work, and why they have the potential to treat a wide range of conditions including rare neurological diseases.

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