Nymirum RNA Revealed

Opening new possibilities for the world's leading drug companies

In 2009, with the low-hanging fruit in protein-targeting drug discovery already picked, Nymirum was founded to open up an entire new forest: targeting RNA with small molecules.

Surrounded by white space we first set about circling the core IP required to attack this exciting new field. We signed our first partnership deal with big pharma shortly thereafter.

Over the past decade we have continuously advanced our platform; improving both speed and accuracy, broadening our scope, adding new tools, signing new partnerships, and securing new IP.

Our partners bring deep experience from a protein-centric world, we enable them to apply their strengths to target RNA. We've seen what works and just as importantly we've seen what doesn't; and every lesson has been incorporated back into the Nymirum platform.

  Management & Founders

Hashim Al-Hashimi - Inventor, co-founder, Platform Architect

Dr. Al-Hashimi is the inventor of the technology underlying Nymirum's platform. He provides specific direction on the scientific undertakings at Nymirum.

Al-Hashimi is the James B. Duke Professor of Biochemistry at the Duke School of Medicine and is the Director of the Duke Center for RNA Biology.

He received his Ph.D. from Yale University. His breakthroughs in RNA research have been repeatedly published in Science and Nature. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the National Science Foundation Career Award

Joshua P. Fairbank - co-founder, Executive Chairman

Mr. Fairbank oversees all business and finance matters for the company.

Fairbank is co-founder of Akebia (NASDAQ: AKBA), Orchard Ventures, and Orchard Capital, an SEC-registered asset management firm.

For 20+ years Fairbank has been at the intersection of finance and innovation. He has worked at investment banks and run multiple successful startups - experiencing IPOs from both sides of the table.

He received his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and his bachelor's degree in Economics from Connecticut College.

Michael Pape - co-founder, director of drug discovery

Dr. Pape is a co-founder of Esperion Therapeutics (sold to Pfizer for $1.3 billion) and Akebia Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AKBA). He has been a board member and investor in numerous biotech companies. He worked as a scientist at Upjohn, Parke-Davis, and Pfizer directing drug discovery and publishing extensively on metabolic diseases.

He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University, his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and his bachelor's degree in Microbiology from the University of Michigan. He has been awarded Distinguished Alumni Awards from both the University of Chicago and Purdue.

RNA-targeted Small Molecule Drug Discovery Platform

The Problem

Small molecules that target RNA comprise one of the most successful drug classes of all time: antibiotics. Even with this precedence and the emergence of RNA being responsible for cellular dysfunction, technologies do not exist to robustly discover RNA-targeting small molecule drugs...until now.

Human genome related research indicates that up to 93% of the genome is transcribed into RNA, yet fewer than 2% of RNA is translated into protein. Drug discovery efforts over the last fifty years have almost exclusively focused on the protein products derived from the 2% and have ignored nearly the entire RNA population. Using the Nymirum Platform, the other 93% can be directly targeted.

With recent discoveries of diseases caused by dysfunctional human RNA, along with the explosion of potential RNA targets emerging from whole genome sequencing of disease causing microorganisms, enabling technologies to identify drugs that alter RNA activity and thereby alleviate disease are desperately needed. Experimental high-throughput screening approaches often fail because most RNA targets lack enzymatic activity while small molecule binding assays do not provide atomic level structural information needed to relate binding affinity to biological activity for robust structure activity relationship (SAR) studies. While computational methods provide the desired structural information and can in principle be implemented in a high throughput manner without experimental limitations, inherent RNA flexibility precludes computational methods from correctly accounting for the large structural changes that occur on RNA-small molecule binding. The Nymirum platform directly solves this problem by using RNA plasticity to its advantage to solve RNA structures with small molecule amenable binding pockets.

The Solution

Nymirum's platform can begin as early as target selection and proceeds through chemical and biological lead optimization.

RNA drug discovery solution
Small molecule binding pockets in the Human microRNA-122 loop

The core of Nymirum's drug discovery platform experimentally determines atomic-level RNA conformers that display pockets amenable to specifically bind small molecules. Using the atomic coordinates of these conformers, Nymirum is able to delineate all possible RNA-small molecule interactions, a critical step in structure-based drug design. In fact, the platforms's virtual screening methodology can rapidly assess the ability of millions of small molecules to favorably interact with the binding pockets. By harnessing inherent RNA plasticity to generate multiple small molecule binding pockets, Nymirum is able to rapidly identify small molecules that modulate RNA cellular function and provide necessary biological specificity.

Employing an iterative feedback process between all experimental and computational modeling phases of the Nymirum Platform, drug discovery projects rapidly progress from hit to lead to drug candidate. During our partnered projects we are able to incorporate our partners' domain expertise and requirements into the process.

Career Opportunities

Every so often a revolutionary new technology meets a scientific breakthrough that when combined offer the opportunity to change the world. From devastating genetic diseases, HIV, various cancers, neurological diseases, and anti-parasitics for the world's food supply, Nymirum's technology presents a novel and fully-validated approach to meet unsolved global health challenges. Nymirum is a well-funded biotech company that has secured partnerships with some of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies. We are seeking the best and the brightest to continue our mission to change the world.

Available Job Openings:

Computational Biochemist / Data Scientist

Nymirum, a Durham NC based start-up company, is searching for a Computational Biochemist / Data Scientist. The prospective candidate will work at the cutting edge of RNA-targeted drug discovery and artificial intelligence by developing novel machine learning methods for enabling RNA-targeted drug discovery. Adaptability, creativity, ability to work independently, enthusiasm, and excellent communication are critical to thrive in this dynamic environment. Great opportunity for biochemists and biophysicists with an interest in artificial intelligence to develop and evaluate computational methods with immediate impact on drug discovery.

Minimum Requirements:

  • PhD in computer science, bioinformatics, computational biology/chemistry, or the physical sciences with a background in both life science and computation.
  • Familiarity biochemistry, structural biology, and statistical methods.
  • Proficient in Python, SQL, and Linux environments.
  • Proficient with Python scientific computing toolkits such as Pandas, Numpy, Jupyter Notebooks, scikit-learn, and PyMC3.
  • Familiarity with deep learning architectures (Tensorflow/Keras or Pytorch).
  • Have worked with publically available chemical databases such as ChEMBL, PubChem, ZINC15, and the Protein Data Bank.
  • Scientifically driven, enthusiastic, and able to work as part of a small team and also independently.
  • Curiosity driven with a bend for developing novel methods for analyzing data.


  • Experience working in a lab environment is ideal.
  • Knowledge of structural biology (proteins or nucleic acids).
  • Applied knowledge in non-linear regression and dimensionality reduction techniques.
  • Familiar with cloud computing on AWS.

Please apply by sending your resume and cover letter to jobs@nymirum.com