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HAYA Therapeutics Co-Founders Win Inaugural Andreas & Thomas Struengmann Award

Recognizing entrepreneurial vision and talent in the life sciences among the DACH region, which includes Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the award honors the efforts of Drs. Ounzain and Blessing in creating a company developing an innovative RNA therapeutic approach targeting lncRNAs for heart disease and a broad range of chronic and underserved conditions. Representatives from the award committee presented the award and the €100,000 cash prize to Drs. Ounzain and Blessing at the Festival of the Future at the Deutsches Museum in Munich on Friday, June 28, 2024.

“It is a privilege to receive the Andreas & Thomas Struengmann Award, named to honor two pioneers in the biotech and life sciences industry. We founded HAYA with a mission to bring RNA-based precision medicines to patients with underserved rare and chronic diseases. We are excited for the next phases of HAYA’s growth, especially as we prepare to bring our first program, HTX-001, into clinical studies,” said Dr. Ounzain, CEO and Co-Founder of HAYA.

HAYA’s co-founders were among five life science company and their respective founders selected by the award committee for their innovative mindset and talent for execution in translating biomedical research into therapeutic approaches. The jury consisted of biotechnology visionaries, including the award’s namesakes, Prof. Dr. Özlem Türeci, the CMO and Co-Founder of BioNTech and Prof. Dr. Helmut Schönenberger, CEO and Co-founder of UnternehmerTUM.

“We would like to thank the Andreas & Thomas Struengmann Award committee for their support and validation as we continue to build HAYA into a company with a revolutionary lncRNA platform and robust product pipeline. We also recognize the incredible work by the entire HAYA team in helping us progress forward and advance the next-generation of dark genome targets and therapeutics,” commented Dr. Blessing, CTO and Co-Founder of HAYA.

We recognize the incredible work by the HAYA team in helping us progress forward and advance the next-generation of dark genome targets and therapeutics

Dr. Blessing, CTO and Co-Founder of HAYA

HAYA is developing an innovative platform to gain novel insights into the biology of disease cell states and developing programmable therapeutics targeting regulatory RNAs derived from the dark genome. The company’s lead candidate, HTX-001, is an antisense oligonucleotide targeting Wisper that is a heart-specific lncRNA known to be a fundamental regulator of pathological cardiac fibrosis in the context of heart failure. A first-in-human clinical study in nonobstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is expected to start in the near future.

“Together with the award committee and this year’s jury, we congratulate Samir and Daniel and hope that this award provides an additional validation as HAYA’s begins the next stage of development as a company. They have proven their ability to translate their findings from the lab into a differentiated cell-state-modifying platform that has significant potential to provide novel, disease-modifying therapeutics for the heart and a range of other disease areas,” Andreas and Thomas Struengmann said in a joint statement. “Throughout our selection process, it has been a tremendous privilege to view the outstanding companies nominated from across the DACH region and, in particular, get to know the finalists whose successes made the final decision a difficult one to make.”

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