Company Overview

Trana Discovery provides a proprietary discovery technology platform that enables its partners to discover new treatments of bacterial, viral, and fungal infectious diseases. Our assays screen compounds to identify potential selective candidates that work through a novel mechanism of action: inhibition of the target pathogen(s) ability to use an organism-specific transfer RNA (tRNA), essential for propagation.

The Need for New Treatments

The need for new, effective treatments for infectious diseases is growing rapidly in every corner of the world. A plethora of highly effective antibacterial agents introduced in the 1970s and 1980s satisfied that need for a period of time, but because of the pathogens’ ability to develop resistance, many formerly effective drugs have lost their ability to control infections. There are now some strains of resistant bacteria for which there is no effective treatment. Additionally, emerging viral resistance continues to require the addition of new treatment modalities to keep HIV and other viral infections in check.




Management Team

The founders of Trana Discovery are scientists from North Carolina State University and from the Technical University, Lodz, Poland. Collectively, these scientists have published more than 50 scientific papers on tRNA. Trana Discovery was spun out of NCSU in 2005 to commercialize the drug discovery technology platform.  The executive management team now consists of Steve Peterson, Chief Executive Officer; Winnell Newman, Co-Founder; Dick Guenther, Co-Founder; Chief Technical Officer; Vice President, Research; Michael Gallucci, Chief Financial Officer; Michael Ossi, Chief Scientific Officer; and Sam Yenne, Chief Development Officer. The entire management team consists of industry veterans with over 300 years collective experience in research, discovery, clinical, financial, accounting, sales, product development, and marketing. There are no full time employees and the management team have agreed to deferred compensation as independent agents.



Company Background

Scientists at North Carolina State University have long understood the crucial role of transfer RNA (tRNA). All organisms need tRNA for normal propagation. Inhibition of tRNA during RNA replication or blocking its recruitment during assembly should stop the replicative cycle, and the pathogen would not be able to survive. Founders of Trana Discovery helped characterize the structure of tRNA, particularly of the ultra-conserved region, the anti-codon stem loop (ASL), of this complex protein. If chemicals that bind to the ASL region could be identified, thereby inhibiting the action of tRNA, new drugs could be crafted for use in treating human and animal diseases.


Novel Treatment

Trana Discovery technology exploits this conserved region of tRNA. As infectious organisms are selected as targets, a unique probe, based on a pre-determined sequence, is developed to mimic the chemical structures of the ASL. The probe is then employed in a high-throughput screening process to identify compounds that react with high affinity and inextricably bind to the ASL, indicating discovery of a molecule that possesses tRNA inhibitory activity specific to the target pathogen. By inhibiting the role of tRNA, propagation cannot proceed, thus stopping pathogen growth and spread of infection. Because each pathogen has a unique combination of tRNAs, compounds with highly selective anti-infective characteristics will target only the pathogen and in turn avoid disruption of normal flora, resistance issues, or superinfections.

Trana Discovery, Inc. | 2054-260 Kildaire Farm Road Cary, NC 27518 | | (919) 295-6116