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Marina Biotech Publishes Research on the Advantages of Its Novel UsiRNA Construct

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Marina Biotech, Inc. has announced the publication of "Improved specificity of gene silencing by siRNAs containing unlocked nucleobase analogs" by Vaish et al., in the journal Nucleic Acids Research (published online November 2, 2010).

This peer-reviewed manuscript describes the results of studies conducted by researchers at Marina Biotech demonstrating not only the high potency of UsiRNAs, but most notably, the elimination of off-target events as shown by microarray analyzes, with no apparent off-target activity due to the UNA chemistry itself. Overall, the research demonstrates that a UsiRNA construct provides potential advantages over other typical siRNA constructs in the design of safe and highly efficacious RNAi-based therapeutics.

"Publication of this manuscript demonstrates the utility of our UsiRNA technology over standard siRNAs," stated Dr. Barry Polisky, Chief Scientific Officer of Marina Biotech. "The UsiRNA construct addresses concerns about the potential for 'off-target' events that occur with standard siRNAs due to inadvertent loading of the passenger strand or because of poor target specificity of the guide strand. As described in the manuscript, our UsiRNA was associated with more than a 10-fold reduction in total off-target events compared to an unmodified siRNA."

The proprietary UsiRNA constructs are distinct from the standard siRNA constructs used by others in the industry. UsiRNAs are specifically designed to provide specificity for RNAi-based therapeutics. Substitution with UNA in the passenger strand (non-targeting strand) is intended to eliminate its participation in the RNAi process. Substitution in the guide strand (targeting strand) is intended to eliminate miRNA-like events, while preserving high siRNA-like activity.