Roche Partners with Tekmira Pharmaceuticals to Advance RNAi Product Candidates
News May 12, 2009
Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation has announced that it has entered into a product development agreement with global healthcare company Roche to advance Roche’s first two RNA interference (RNAi) product candidates into human clinical testing. Both of the product candidates will be based on Tekmira’s stable nucleic acid–lipid particle (SNALP) technology.
Under the terms of the product development agreement, Roche will pay Tekmira up to US$18.4 million to support the advancement of the product candidates to the filing of Investigational New Drug (IND) applications. Tekmira is also eligible to receive up to US$32 million in milestones plus royalties on product sales as the first two products are advanced through development and commercialization based on Roche’s access to Tekmira’s intellectual property under previously announced agreements.
Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira’s President and CEO, said “We are extremely pleased to be working with Roche, a global pioneer in the development of important therapeutic products and a leader in the RNAi field. This agreement is consistent with our strategy of working with leading pharmaceutical companies to help them advance products based on our SNALP technology, and to leverage this work in order to advance our own products.”
“At the same time, the funding from Roche will further strengthen our balance sheet and extend our cash resources as we execute on our business plan of advancing novel RNAi products,” said Dr. Murray.
Dr. Louis Renzetti, Head of RNA Therapeutics at Roche, said “We are enthusiastic about the potential of RNAi therapeutics for patients with hard-to-treat diseases. We believe Tekmira’s SNALP is the leading lipid nanoparticle delivery technology and we are confident that Tekmira’s research and manufacturing capabilities will help us to meet our product development objectives.”
Roche will use Tekmira’s SNALP technology for two RNAi product candidates. Each of the product candidates will be comprised of Roche proprietary small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) encapsulated in a Tekmira proprietary SNALP formulation. Roche and Tekmira expect an IND for the first product candidate to be filed before the end of 2010.
Tekmira will develop and manufacture the drug product for use in all preclinical studies and both companies will collaborate on the preclinical testing. The agreement also provides that Tekmira will manufacture one batch of clinical product for a phase 1 clinical trial.
Synthetic DNA Shuffling Enzyme Outpaces Natural CounterpartNews
A new synthetic enzyme, crafted from DNA rather than protein, flips lipid molecules within the cell membrane, triggering a signal pathway that could be harnessed to induce cell death in cancer cells. Researchers say their lipid-scrambling DNA enzyme is the first in its class to outperform naturally occurring enzymes – and does so by three orders of magnitudeREAD MORE
Antarctic Worm and Machine Learning Help Identify Cerebral Palsy EarlierNews
A research team has released a study in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Bioinformatics showing that DNA methylation patterns in circulating blood cells can be used to help identify spastic cerebral palsy (CP) patients. The technique which makes use of machine learning, data science and even analysis of Antarctic worms, raises hopes for earlier targeted CP therapies.
Ancient Syphilis Genomes Decoded for First TimeNews
Researchers recovered three genomes of the bacterium Treponema pallidum from skeletal remains from colonial-era Mexico, and were able to distinguish the subspecies that causes syphilis from the subspecies that causes yaws. It was not previously thought possible to recover DNA from this bacterium from ancient samples.