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Rare Disease Families Have Plenty of Hope – They Need Help with Drug Development with NF2 Biosolutions Found – Nicole Henwood and Vibe Bio Co-Founder Alok Tayi

Once Upon A Gene

Rare Disease Families Have Plenty of Hope – They Need Help with Drug Development with NF2 Biosolutions Found – Nicole Henwood and Vibe Bio Co-Founder Alok Tayi

September 1, 2022

Rare Disease Families Have Plenty of Hope – They Need Help with Drug Development with NF2 Biosolutions Found – Nicole Henwood and Vibe Bio Co-Founder Alok Tayi

ONCE UPON A GENE – EPISODE 150

Rare Disease Families Have Plenty of Hope – They Need Help with Drug Development with NF2 Biosolutions Found – Nicole Henwood and Vibe Bio Co-Founder Alok Tayi

Alok Tayi is a seasoned scientist and co-founder of Vibe Bio. Alok started Vibe Bio because the biggest obstacle in treating patients with overlooked diseases isn’t finding potential treatments — it’s funding them. Together we speak with Nicole Henwood, a rare mother, physician and president of NF2 Biosolutions, partnering with Vibe Bio to create Merlin Therapeutics, one of the first biotechs leveraging crypto’s economic and coordination tools to fund research and drug development.

EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS

Nicole, can you introduce yourself? 

I am a physician and my 11 year-old son AJ was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis type two (NF2) when he was 6 years old. I realized very quickly that what was available for treatment was not what I wanted to be available for my son. I founded a 501c3 charity called NF2 BioSolutions, focused on accelerating gene therapy research for NF2.

Alok, can you introduce yourself? 

Last year my daughter was born very sick and spent a long time suffering in the hospital. The condition she has is common and the biology behind it is well understood, but there were no therapeutic options available to her. That’s what motivated me to create Vibe Bio, which will give patients more ownership over the drug development process and a community to support them along the way. 

Vibe Bio is considered a DAO, what does this mean? 

A decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) is a digital collective of individuals focused on a common mission, and the actions of this collective are mediated by voting and governance through a token that we all hold. Vibe Bio is building a community of patients, scientists and partners to help identify and vet potential treatments in the rare disease space. We then actually fund the drug development activities from those programs using cryptocurrency token sales. 

Can you tell us about your partnership between NF2 Biosolutions and Vibe Bio? 

We’re excited to announce two partnerships with NF2 Biosolutions and Chelsea’s Hope, which are focused on NF2 and Lafora. These patient groups have developed a community of patients, caregivers and scientific leaders in the space. The challenge is that they’re able to show that medicines work in a pre-clinical context, but they lack the capital to get them into a clinical trial. There’s a lot of excitement around the work that we’re doing because we’re hoping to show how the patient and community driven model allows us to advance medicines and unlock the development of candidate treatments.

LINKS & RESOURCES MENTIONED

Global Genes Patient Advocacy Summit

https://globalgenes.org/event/rare-patient-advocacy-summit/

Vibe Bio

https://www.vibebio.com/

NF2 Biosolutions

https://nf2biosolutions.org/

Merlin Therapeutics

https://merlintherapeutics.com

Chelsea’s Hope

https://chelseashope.org/

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