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GEN News Highlights : Dec 16, 2009
Silence Therapeutics to Merge with Intradigm
Combined entity will have a strong foothold in the field of RNAi therapeutics.!--h2>
Silence Therapeutics and Intradigm have decided to merge, combining multiple RNAi discovery, development, and delivery technologies, a broad internal and partnered product pipeline, and a significant intellectual property portfolio. In parallel with the merger, Silence Therapeutics raised £15 million (about $24.58 million) through a placing and subscription of shares at a price of 23 pence per share.
The new entity will be called Silence Therapeutics. The merger is expected to build a competitive offering and facilitate more deals of greater value with the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, the enlarged Silence Therapeutics will have the financial strength to exploit its technology by developing its own therapeutic candidates.
Capabilities extend to all essential areas for siRNA product development including delivery, structure, and chemistry, according to Silence Therapeutics. The company also has a diverse library of therapeutic siRNA sequences. Of the nine siRNA candidates currently in clinical development globally, four reportedly utilize Silence’s technology.
“Perhaps most exciting about the merger is the powerful range of RNAi delivery technology solutions possessed by the new company,” points out Philip Haworth, CEO of Intradigm. “The most significant hurdle to be overcome in realizing the vast potential of RNAi therapeutics is that of enabling safe and effective delivery of siRNA payloads.
“By combining the impressive expertise of both Intradigm and Silence, we now have one of the industry’s most comprehensive and versatile delivery technology platforms, providing the enlarged company with an unparalleled potential to develop delivery solutions that can be tailored to address various therapeutic requirements.”
The company also says that its IP portfolio covers key areas of RNAi therapeutic development, including target sequences, delivery, and siRNA structural features.
Following the granting of patents in Europe, the U.S., and Australia, Silence Therapeutics reports that it is one of only two companies worldwide with a proprietary position on composition of matter for siRNA therapeutics.
“By bringing together a comprehensive platform of siRNA delivery and development technologies, we believe Silence Therapeutics will be a partner of choice for those seeking to develop RNAi therapeutics,” remarks Iain Ross, chairman of Silence Therapeutics. “With a strengthened balance sheet, experienced management, and extended research capability, Silence Therapeutics is well placed to strike the development deals that will deliver value for shareholders.”
Silence Therapeutics reports that it has developed a platform of novel siRNA molecules, AtuRNAi, which provide a number of advantages over conventional siRNA molecules, including increased stability against nuclease degradation. In addition, the company has developed a systemic delivery system, AtuPLEX. This system enables the functional delivery of siRNA molecules to targeted diseased tissues and cells, while increasing their bioavailability and intracellular uptake, Silence Therapeutics explains.
Silence’s lead internal product, Atu027, is being tested in a Phase I trial as a treatment for advanced solid tumors. It targets PKN3, a molecule involved in cancer growth and metastasis and uses the company’s AtuPLEX delivery technology.
Intradigm has established a portfolio of siRNA sequences against more than 50 oncology and other disease targets. In addition, Intradigm has secured an exclusive license to the Zamore patent family from the University of Massachusetts, which covers broad structural features of siRNA design for more potent next-generation siRNA sequences.
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