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Cap analogs with a photo-cleavable group as a general reagent to produce light-activatable mRNAs as tool for fundamental and medical research


Messenger RNAs (mRNAs) have recently entered the stage as therapeutic modality. Examples are the mRNA-based vaccines against infection by SARS-Cov2. Hundreds of research groups in academia and industry aim to better understand the multiplicity of the mRNA technology and its possible applications.

However, at present researchers are unable to control when and where the mRNA is translated into proteins – which then have a pharmacological effect. This is a bottleneck that severely limits the research needed to further develop mRNA as a therapeutic modality.

We present FlashCaps, the first applicable solution that allows mRNA studies to be driven by light without altering the structure or sequence of the natural mRNA. Light is an excellent external control element that can be applied with high precision in space and time and without interfering with cellular processes. FlashCaps prevent the translation of the mRNA until activated by light. FlashCaps are compatible with all standard mRNA production and application procedures and thus of interest to all research groups and companies working on mRNA to date.

In this proof of concept, we will determine the innovation potential of FlashCaps with a team of highly qualified scientists and innovation managers. Technological research to ensure reproducibility, stability, scalability, and quality of FlashCaps will be performed. User-friendly applicability of FlashCaps is achieved through the involvement of beta-testers. Innovation management research, including market analyses, data analytics and consumer interviews, is conducted to define the potential customers and their needs, to analyse the market potential and to investigate our competitors.

Based on the research results and the agile exchange between the technological and innovation management research, we will decide on the best way of knowledge transfer to make FlashCaps available to the growing number of mRNA researchers.

Host institution

Net EU contribution
€ 150 000,00

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Nordrhein-Westfalen Münster Münster, Kreisfreie Stadt
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
No data

Beneficiaries (1)