RXi snags OPKO's RNAi portfolio in penny stock swap

RXi Pharmaceuticals ($RXII) has parlayed a chunk of its penny OTC stock for a portfolio of RNAi therapies at OPKO Health. In the deal OPKO agreed to hand over 50 million shares--worth about $10 million--to RXi along with a commitment of up to $50 million more in milestones.

In its release, RXi said it was laying claim to a broad portfolio of RNAi patents covering new therapies for the eye, cancer, immune disorders, and inflammatory diseases. And it added that the company is raising $16.4 million through a private placement of 113 million shares for 14.5 cents each.

Shares of RXi jumped to 20 cents today on the news. The tiny biotech has a market cap of $36 million.

"Together with its licensors and collaborators, OPKO was one of the early pioneers in the field of RNAi," stated RXi CEO Dr. Geert Cauwenbergh. "We are honored to have the privilege to extend OPKO's ground-breaking work, while at the same time deepening our product pipeline and broadening our technology platform and intellectual property position. Combining OPKO's RNAi assets and related intellectual property with our self-delivering (sd-rxRNA®) technology platform will further extend our competitive edge in this important field of pharmaceutical development."

- here's the press release

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