CytRx Corporation's majority-owned subsidiary RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation (RXi) has announced that it has entered into an agreement with TriLink Biotechnologies, Inc. to exclusively license three RNA interference (RNAi) chemistry technologies for all therapeutic RNAi applications.
The agreement includes rights to sublicense a patented RNA linker technology, a patent application on RNAi compositions and an undisclosed chemistry approach that has potential applications in improving existing RNAi compounds.
Terms of the license agreement include upfront and yearly minimum licensing payments, royalties of 1% or less from RXi to TriLink on sales of therapeutic products developed from technologies included in the license agreement, and payments based on the achievement of certain clinical milestones. Additional terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
RNAi has been shown to interfere with the expression of targeted disease-associated genes and was co-discovered by 2006 Nobel Laureate Dr. Craig C. Mello, who is a co-founder and Scientific Advisory Board Chairman of RXi.
Tod Woolf, Ph.D., CEO of RXi, stated, "This chemistry technology adds components to our expanding RNAi toolbox and can be integrated with our existing technology portfolio to create advanced proprietary RNAi compounds that we call rxRNA™.
rxRNA™ is patently distinct from first generation siRNA and has shown certain potential advantages in terms of potency and other pharmacological properties.
The license agreement includes rights to the following technologies:
• Pre-Activated Carbonyl Linker for the modification of oligonucleotides (U.S. Patent No. 6,320,041): This compound allows for modification of RNA, such as coupling carrier molecules for targeted delivery, in a convenient and inexpensive manner during solid phase synthesis. The compound allows screening of a wide variety of compounds without the need to create expensive activated reagents for each conjugation. Following target conjugate identification, the reagent allows for direct scale-up to the amount of material required for clinical study.
• Chimeric RNA-DNA duplexes (Patent Pending): These RNAi-like compounds, comprised of a RNA antisense strand and a modified DNA sense strand, were designed to provide potential specificity advantages compared with first generation siRNA.