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Posted: Aug 26, 2008

New Proprietary Research by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Highlights Critical Issue in RNAi Field

(Nanowerk News) Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation nnounced today that it has published new research that highlights proprietary technology developed by the company to modify small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules to minimize the immune stimulation effects of siRNA while preserving their RNA interference (RNAi) activity. Tekmira's siRNA modification technology, which the company has filed intellectual property to protect, will be utilized in its product candidates.
The published work (Robbins et al, Misinterpreting the therapeutic effects of siRNA caused by immune stimulation., Hum Gene Ther. 2008 Aug 19.) highlights that a number of previously published studies reporting the therapeutic effects of siRNA are likely the result of non-specific immune stimulation rather than RNAi activity. Tekmira recognized the basis for this potential misinterpretation of RNAi data and has advanced new chemical modification technology to address the issue of immune stimulation.
Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira's President and CEO, said "This published research further demonstrates Tekmira's emerging leadership in the RNAi field. Moreover, the technology that flowed from this research has the potential to play an important role in our ongoing work to develop RNAi therapeutic products."
Tekmira's lead product candidate, ApoB SNALP, will enter a Phase 1 clinical trial in the first half of 2009 and its second product candidate, PLK1 SNALP, will enter a Phase 1 clinical trial in the second half of 2009.
Additionally, Tekmira is working with its industry partners to support their efforts to advance RNAi products based on Tekmira's SNALP delivery technology. The company has ongoing partnerships with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Roche and Merck & Co. Alnylam has also provided access to Tekmira's technology to certain of its partners, including Regulus Therapeutics and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.
The published work was completed by scientists at Protiva Biotherapeutics Inc. In May, Tekmira and Protiva combined their businesses to create a leader in the field of RNAi therapeutics.
About RNAi and SNALP
RNAi drugs have the potential to treat human diseases by "switching-off" disease causing genes. The technology, representing one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug discovery, was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi drugs, such as siRNA, require delivery technology to be administered systemically. In preclinical studies, Tekmira's SNALP (stable nucleic acid-lipid particles) technology has been shown to be a safe and effective way to deliver RNAi drugs to disease sites. Tekmira believes it has a leading intellectual property position in the field of siRNA delivery.
About Tekmira
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company focused on advancing novel RNAi products and providing its leading lipid nanoparticle delivery technology to pharmaceutical partners. Further information about Tekmira can be found at www.tekmirapharm.com. Tekmira is based in Vancouver, B.C.
Source: Tekmira (press release)
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