Marina Biotech and Girindus Group Announce Strategic Alliance
News May 22, 2012
Marina Biotech, Inc. and Girindus Group have announced that they have entered into a strategic alliance where Girindus will have exclusive rights to develop, supply and commercialize certain oligonucleotide constructs using Marina's Conformationally Restricted Nucleotide (CRN) chemistry and in return, Marina will receive royalties from the sale of CRN-based oligonucleotide reagents as well as a robust supply of cGMP material for Marina and its partners' pre-clinical, clinical and commercialization needs.
"Girindus has re-invented its business since 2009 by developing oligonucleotide manufacturing as a major focus while leveraging its established small molecule expertise to the benefit of their client base," said Marc Lemaitre, CEO of Girindus America Inc. and Vorstand of Girindus AG.
Lemaitre continued, "This alliance with Marina is very important for Girindus as it clearly exemplifies our strategy to provide integrated services to our oligonucleotide customers. Girindus is unique in being able to provide oligonucleotide development and manufacturing services, with related analytical and regulatory support, as well as apply small molecule chemistry to both amidites and oligonucleotide modifications. The small molecule chemistry component of our business provides our customers a one-stop shop when they need other products related to nucleosides, exotic phosphoramidites or drug delivery products. This strategy allows Girindus to develop and exploit, to the benefit of our customers, both the solid-phase technology platform related to oligonucleotides and a wide array of established solution-phase chemistries. We have decided to enter into this alliance with Marina because we believe its proprietary CRN chemistry provides unique benefits to oligonucleotide constructs, and offers a new research and development tool to the field of nucleic acid based therapeutics."
Conformationally Restricted Nucleotides are patented analogs in which a chemical bridge connects the C2' and C4' carbons of ribose. Ribose, a five-carbon ring-like structure, forms the central component of a nucleotide (comprised of a nucleobase, ribose, and phosphate group).
The chemical bridge in the ribose of a CRN locks the ribose in a fixed conformation, which in turn restricts the flexibility of the nucleobase and phosphate group.
Substitution of a CRN within an RNA- or DNA-based oligonucleotide has the advantages of increased hybridization affinity and enhanced resistance to nuclease degradation.
CRN technology provides a direct means of developing highly potent and specific oligonucleotide-based therapeutics to target messenger RNAs or microRNAs.
These targets connect disease pathways that are typically "undruggable" or "difficult to target" with small molecules or monoclonal antibodies, and may be critical in disease areas with significant unmet needs, such as inflammation, metabolic disease, and cancers.
Marina Biotech's CRN patent estate consists of two issued patents broadly covering CRN compounds and CRN containing oligonucleotides, and one pending patent application covering additional applications of CRNs.
"We are pleased to have entered into this strategic alliance with Girindus," stated J. Michael French, President and CEO of Marina Biotech.
French continued, "Our mission here at Marina is to conduct basic research in the application of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics to treat human disease as well as to advance those therapeutics through preclinical and clinical development and ultimately to the market. This alliance with Girindus allows us to move the development and supply of CRN-based oligonucleotides to a team with exceptional experience and capability thus allowing us to focus on bringing novel therapeutics to patients in need."
In treating inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), physicians can have a hard time telling which newly diagnosed patients have a high risk of severe inflammation or what therapies will be most effective. Now researchers report finding an epigenetic signature in patient cells that appears to predict inflammation risk in a serious type of IBD called Crohn’s disease.