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Posted: May 27, 2010
Arrowhead Lead Scientific Advisor, Dr. Mauro Ferrari and Calando Pharmaceuticals' siRNA Drug Delivery Platform Featured in Houston Chronicle
(Nanowerk News) Arrowhead Research Corporation today announced that two articles of interest to Arrowhead stockholders appeared in the Houston Chronicle this week. An article published on May 24, entitled "Minute invaders that aid the body", reports on the revolutionary potential of gene silencing and the pioneering role of the siRNA delivery system developed by Arrowhead majority-owned subsidiary, Calando Pharmaceuticals and Caltech engineering professor, Dr. Mark Davis. The article described preliminary data from Calando's Phase I clinical trial, recently published in the journal Nature, that demonstrated effective siRNA delivery to tumor cells and gene silencing via RNAi for the first time in humans. Dr. Davis discussed the results, and Dr. Mauro Ferrari, Chairman of NanoMedicine and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Texas Medical School, is quoted in the article about the work and the power of RNA interference: "These are very sophisticated ways of sending biological messages to the body. It will change medicine completely."
Dr. Ferrari was also interviewed for a May 23 article, entitled "A big mission for a big business." The article focused on the growing importance of nanomedicine for the Houston economy. Dr. Ferrari has brought in close to $70 million in grants for nanomedicine research, much of which funds work done in partnership with Arrowhead portfolio company, Leonardo Biosystems. Located in Houston, Leonardo was co-founded by Dr. Ferrari and Arrowhead's CEO, Christopher Anzalone to commercialize a next generation drug delivery platform known as multistage vectors (MSV) for treating cancer. Dr. Ferrari also heads a consortium of eight research hospitals and universities known as the Alliance for Nanohealth, and this concentration of well-funded world-class research is thought to be a significant economic driver for the Houston area going forward.
"We have assembled some of the world's great scientists and established a system for them to work together, often across disciplines, to attack fundamental challenges in medicine," said Dr. Ferrari. "We are also working closely with industry and the state of Texas to convert these advances into new therapies." As an example, in the current issue of Cancer Research, Dr. Ferrari and collaborators report delivering siRNA in mouse ovarian cancer models with MSV to provide therapeutic efficacy for three weeks or more after a single injection. Leonardo is commercializing this technology, and there are ongoing interactions between academic labs and the company. Dr. Ferrari continued, "The time-extended release of siRNA from systemic injections, coupled with the ability to overcome the body's physiological barriers to delivery are next major frontiers of siRNA delivery. The MSV system provides an ideal means of delivery for these functions, and the academic-industry collaborations involved here represent a good model for Houston and beyond."
Arrowhead Research Corporation (www.arrowheadresearch.com) is a nanotechnology company commercializing new technologies in the areas of life sciences and electronics. Arrowhead is seeking to build value for shareholders through the progress of its portfolio companies. Currently, Arrowhead is focused primarily on its two majority owned subsidiaries, Unidym, a leader in carbon nanotube technology for electronic applications, and Calando, at the forefront of clinical application of RNAi delivery technology. Arrowhead also has minority investments in two privately held nanobiotech companies, including Nanotope, Inc.
Source: Arrowhead Research Corporation (press release)