MDRNA, Inc. Announces Research Study With Pfizer
Activities to Focus on MDRNA's Proprietary RNAi Drug Discovery Platform -- UsiRNA Constructs and DiLA2 Delivery System
April 05, 2010: 08:01 AM ET
MDRNA, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA), a leading RNAi-based drug discovery and development company, today announced a study effort with Pfizer (NYSE: PFE). The relationship will focus on the evaluation of MDRNA's proprietary di-alkylated amino acids (DiLA2) platform and UsiRNA constructs for RNA interference (RNAi). Additional details of the collaboration were not disclosed. This marks MDRNA's fourth early collaborative effort announced with a major pharmaceutical company in the past nine months.
MDRNA will be responsible for formulating Pfizer's oligonucleotides in DiLA2 formulations for in vivo preclinical evaluation to be performed at Pfizer. Additionally, MDRNA's research team will design and synthesize UsiRNAs directed against targets specified by Pfizer.
"We are extremely pleased to be working with Pfizer, a world leader in the pharmaceutical industry," said Michael French, President and CEO of MDRNA. "As Pfizer has made a commitment to the research and development of RNAi therapeutics, this is a significant opportunity for MDRNA to again demonstrate the broad capabilities of its world-class research team and proprietary drug discovery engine for RNAi-based therapeutics."
About UsiRNAs and Unlocked Nucleobase Analogs
A UsiRNA is a duplex siRNA containing at least one Unlocked Nucleobase Analog (UNA). In a UsiRNA, UNAs are non-nucleotide monomers and synthesized much like RNA in the construction of a double-stranded oligonucelotide for use as an RNAi-based therapeutic. In the case of the UsiRNA, UNA is substituted for specific nucleotides in both the guide and passenger strands. UsiRNAs are fully recognized by the cellular RNAi machinery, as demonstrated by their potent activity. MDRNA has also shown that substitution of UNA for specific RNA increases stability to nucleases, substantially reduces cytokine induction, and reduces passenger and guide strand-mediated off target effects. The high potency, and improved drug-like properties, associated with UsiRNAs provide the potential to greatly enhance RNAi-based therapeutics.
About the DiLA2 Delivery Platform
The DiLA2 Delivery Platform is MDRNA's proprietary platform for creating novel liposomal delivery systems based on di-alkylated amino acids (DiLA2). The DiLA2 Platform enables MDRNA to tailor the charge, linker length, and acyl chain characteristics to improve delivery of the liposomes to target tissue of interest. In vivo studies have demonstrated effective delivery in models of metabolic disease, cancer, and other diseases. DiLA2 based liposomes are well tolerated for repeat dose, and systemic and local administration. MDRNA is also utilizing condensing peptides to form peptide-siRNA nanoparticles to further increase the delivery efficiency of its DiLA2 delivery systems. In addition, the platform is designed to permit attachment of peptides and other targeting molecules for delivery to a variety of tissues, and thus provide for a diverse therapeutic portfolio.
About MDRNA, Inc.
MDRNA is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutic products based on RNA interference (RNAi). Our goal is to improve human health through the development of RNAi-based compounds and drug delivery technologies that together provide superior therapeutic options for patients. Over the past decade, we have developed substantial capabilities in molecular biology, cellular biology, amino acid chemistry, peptide chemistry, pharmacology and bioinformatics, which we are applying to a wide range of RNAi technologies and delivery approaches. These capabilities plus the in-licensing of key RNAi-related intellectual property have rapidly enabled us to become a leading RNAi-based therapeutics company with a pre-clinical pipeline in oncology. Through our capabilities, expertise and know-how, we are incorporating multiple RNAi technologies as well as peptide- and liposome-based delivery approaches into a single integrated drug discovery platform that will be the engine for our clinical pipeline as well as a versatile platform for establishing broad therapeutic partnerships with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. We are also investing in new technologies that we expect to lead to safer and more effective RNAi-based therapeutics while aggressively building upon our broad and extensive intellectual property estate. By combining broad expertise in siRNA science with proven delivery platforms and a strong IP position, MDRNA is well positioned as a leading RNAi-based drug discovery and development company. Additional information about MDRNA, Inc. is available at http://www.mdrnainc.com.
MDRNA Forward-Looking Statements
Statements made in this news release may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of Federal Securities laws that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and involve factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) the ability of MDRNA to obtain additional funding; (ii) the ability of MDRNA to attract and/or maintain manufacturing, research, development and commercialization partners; (iii) the ability of MDRNA and/or a partner to successfully complete product research and development, including preclinical and clinical studies and commercialization; (iv) the ability of MDRNA and/or a partner to obtain required governmental approvals; (v) the ability of MDRNA and/or a partner to develop and commercialize products that can compete favorably with those of competitors; and (vi) the failure of the stockholders of MDRNA to approve the merger with Cequent, the failure of either party to meet any of the other conditions to closing the merger, contractual restrictions on the conduct of our business included in the merger agreement, and any impact on our relationships with third parties as a result of the announcement of the proposed merger. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested in any forward-looking statements are contained in MDRNA's most recent periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. MDRNA assumes no obligation to update and supplement forward-looking statements because of subsequent events.