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GEN News Highlights : Jul 30, 2008

Silence Therapeutics Receives $4.23M through a Milestone Fee and a Research Grant

Pfizer’s commencement of a Phase II trial triggered a $1.90 million payment, and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research bestowed the award.

Silence Therapeutics received $1.90 million from Quark Pharmaceuticals with the initiation of a Phase II trial evaluating an siRNA candidate based on its technology. The company has also been awarded a three-year, €1.50 million, or $2.33 million, research grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research to support research on RNAi.

The mid-stage investigation on RTP801i-14 is being funded and conducted by Pfizer in collaboration with Quark. Under the agreement between these two companies, Quark reports that it received the main milestone fee, a small percentage of which was given to Silence Therapeutics and Alnylam.

The study is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the candidate in improving visual acuity compared to laser treatment in patients with diabetic macular edema.

In 2004 Quark and Silence Therapeutics inked a collaboration agreement to develop siRNA molecules for the gene target RTP-801. The partnerhsip resulted in RTP801i-14, a 19 bp long, blunt-ended molecule developed on Silence’s AtuRNAi platform. Pfizer then in-licensed RTP-801i-14 from Quark in 2006 under a deal related to a treatment for AMD.