Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced that it has signed a collaboration agreement with the University of Michigan Kresge Hearing Research Institute to begin pre-clinical studies of several new siRNA compounds for the treatment of acute hearing loss associated with acoustic (noise-induced) trauma through the inhibition of Quark's targets. These pre-clinical studies will be led by Professor Yehoash Raphael, Ph.D., Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan.
These studies will target several different siRNA-based drug candidates that work by way of inhibition of Quark's target genes for the prevention and treatment of acoustic trauma-induced acute hearing loss. The multi-stage, animal model study will assess the ability to deliver these siRNA compounds to relevant cochlear cells in the inner ear. The efficacy of the selected siRNA compounds before and after acoustic trauma, the residence time of siRNA in the inner ear cells, and the duration of the therapeutic siRNA effect will also be primary focuses of the studies.
Daniel Zurr, CEO of Quark Pharmaceuticals, commented, "The establishment of this significant research collaboration with the University of Michigan enables us to expand our research program aimed at preventing and treating hearing loss. With an estimated 28 million Americans having some degree of hearing loss, this is a significant medical issue in the United States and throughout the world. Moreover, hearing loss is an under-diagnosed and under- treated health issue. Quark continues to draw on its expertise in the development of siRNA-based therapeutics and we continue to broaden our pipeline portfolio to include new drug candidates that act by way of inhibiting our novel targets for this disease and an increasing number of indications with unmet medical needs."