HocusLocus is a life sciense-based startup company that aims to exploit post-transcriptional regulation of RNA. A great deal of effort in biology has been focused on DNA and its various applications. We believe that RNA has as much or more utility to create products and transform research and affect human health. We are interested in all RNA-based regulatory products and functions including miRNA and miRNA inhibitors, RNA interference (siRNA or RNAi), long non-coding RNAs, and an endogenous regulatory mechanism called sxRNA for structurally interacting RNA.
Our first commercial product is a novel method for cell line selection as part of cell line development we call PTSelect™. In short, PTSelect™ replaces a resistance gene normally used for selection, typically a gene conferring resistance to an antibiotic like neomycin or puromycin, with an siRNA-containing intron upstream of the protein product or gene of interest (GOI). The actual selection process is then performed by transfecting mRNA that contains an RNAi site that interacts with the siRNA from the original plasmid. The active siRNA cleaves the mRNA in cells that are stably transfected and producing the GOI thereby reducing translation of the mRNA, while uninhibited translation in cells without the siRNA. The mRNA can encode a death gene, a fluorescent marker for subsequent cell sorting using flow cytometry or a cell surface marker for subsequent sorting using magnetic activated cell sorting.