Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced that it has been awarded a multi-year Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for up to $1.5 million to design oligonucleotide drugs that can exploit the RNA interference (RNAi) antisense mechanism for disease treatment.
The Phase 2 grant builds upon a successfully completed Phase 1 program that demonstrated the feasibility of using single-stranded antisense drugs to target the RNAi pathway.
The multi-year grant will fund research by Isis to improve the stability and tissue distribution of RNAi drugs. Much of the work will focus on optimizing the chemical properties of single-stranded oligonucleotides that trigger the RNAi pathway. In addition to demonstrating that compounds optimized with Isis' chemistries produce superior results in animal models when compared to unoptimized compounds, the grant funds the discovery of RNAi-based drugs.