Executive Summary

Discovering Circular RNA: Applications, Purification Techniques, and Analytical Insights

Discover key circRNA topics such as therapeutic uses, structural identification, analytical methods, and more.

This summary accompanies a recent expert discussion forum produced by Separation Science in collaboration with Agilent.

Circular RNA (circRNA) represents a cutting-edge realm of therapeutics that holds immense potential for future medical breakthroughs. As promising as this field is, it's laden with analytical challenges, from sample preparation issues to complex applications. Separation Science, in conjunction with Agilent, hosted a panel discussion led by industry experts in the field of circRNA. The session shed light on the intricacies of structural identification, purification strategies, and pressing unmet analytical needs. It also explored the future challenges and outlook of this rapidly advancing field.

Topics covered in this summary include:

  • Key analytical challenges to moving development forward
  • Endogenous circRNA as robust biomarkers for precision medicine
  • Genome editing to manipulate the expression of endogenous circRNAs for therapeutics
  • Structural differences between mRNA and Endless RNA™ (eRNA)
  • General requirements for analytical methods to support RNA manufacturing
  • Purification and quality strategies, such as the development and qualification of an anion-exchange HPLC method for eRNA purity
  • Unmet analytical needs, future challenges, and outlook

Meet the experts: 

Francis Poulin
Vice President, Analytical Sciences, Sail Biomedicines

Francis Poulin is Vice President of Analytical Sciences at Sail Biomedicines, a Flagship Pioneering Company based in Cambridge, MA. Francis leads the development of analytical procedures for Endless RNA™ (eRNA), a uniquely engineered RNA that was invented at Flagship Labs. Prior to Sail Biomedicines, he held positions at Laronde, Lyell Immunopharma, Sanofi, and Genzyme, and in these roles contributed to several successful regulatory filings. Francis received his PhD in Biochemistry from McGill University in Montreal, where he worked with Prof. Nahum Sonenberg on the regulation of mRNA translation initiation.

Nikolaos Mellios
Chief Scientific Officer, Circular Genomics
Nikolaos Mellios is the co-founder and CSO of Circular Genomics Inc. and an Associate Professor of Neurosciences at University of New Mexico with leading expertise in the field of circRNAs and their relevance for psychiatric and neurological disorders. He has significant academic experience in RNA biology and psychiatric research via his PhD training in UMass Medical School and postdoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and has published pivotal work on the role of circRNAs in brain function and psychiatric disease in his laboratory at UNM. As a CSO and lead inventor of Circular Genomics, he has pioneered the methods for specific, accurate, and reproducible quantifications of circRNAs in peripheral samples and the use of such novel biomarkers for precision medicine.

Dr. Andrew Coffey
Senior Applications Chemist, Agilent Technologies
Andy joined Polymer Laboratories in 1989 after completing his PhD in peptide synthesis at Wolverhampton, UK. He progressed from Senior Scientist to Product Manager, looking after multiple product lines during the acquisition by Varian (2005) and then Agilent Technologies (2010). He joined the Biocolumns Applications Team in August 2011 and has considerable experience in reversed phase, ion-exchange, and size exclusion liquid chromatography method development, technical support, and troubleshooting.


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