Targeted Genetics obtained full exclusive rights to its preclinical Huntington's disease (HD) program from Sirna Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co.
In exchange for these rights, which include a license to intellectual property that Targeted Genetics may find necessary in order to develop and commercialize an HD product, Targeted Genetics will pay Sirna an undisclosed royalty on future sales.
Sirna has also assigned to Targeted Genetics a licensing agreement it has with the University of Iowa that covers certain IP developed by Beverly Davidson's laboratory related to RNA interference (RNAi) including adeno-associated virus (AAV) expressed RNAi.
In 2005, Targeted Genetics and Sirna Therapeutics formed a collaboration to develop HD therapeutics using an AAV-delivered RNAi approach to target the HD gene. This collaboration also involved Dr. Davidson's laboratory and was based on preclinical proof of concept established by University of Iowa researchers.
"This moves all of the key pieces of this program to Targeted Genetics and gives us exclusive rights and direct involvement with the University of Iowa to expedite the program," said H. Stewart Parker, president and CEO of Targeted Genetics. "This program is our primary proof of concept in the area of expressed RNAi, which we believe could present multiple product opportunities to help patients who currently have little hope for treatment, such as those with HD."