SiSaf has agreed to collaborate with the University of Leipzig to develop Bio-Courier targeted micro interfering RNAs (miRNA) for the treatment of cancer, with an initial focus on pancreatic cancer. The agreement will combine SiSaf’s work in RNA delivery using its Bio-Courier silicon-stabilized hybrid lipid nanoparticles (sshLNPs) and the University of Leipzig’s expertise in miRNA targeting and therapeutic approaches in cancer, led by Achim Aigner, PhD, professor in clinical pharmacology at Leipzig’s Faculty of Medicine.

SiSaf will develop miRNA Bio-Courier formulations that will be tested in pancreatic cancer models in Aigner’s laboratory; SiSaf also has an exclusive option to acquire a worldwide license to a patent by the University.

miRNAs are involved in the regulation of various physiological and pathological processes. In tumors, aberrant downregulation of given miRNAs may result in pathological overexpression of oncogenes, rendering miRNA replacement a promising therapeutic strategy. Aigner and his team have demonstrated the tumor-inhibitory potential of miR506-3p and miR24-3p in animal models of pancreatic cancer.

Key bottleneck

A major bottleneck in miRNA replacement is their efficient delivery. The aim of the collaboration is to develop a replacement therapy combining both miR506-3p and miR24-3p for a more powerful effect, using SiSaf’s Bio-Courier drug delivery platform that leverages the properties of elemental silicon to optimize lipid nanoparticle technology for RNA therapeutics.

“Due to their parallel, selective effects on multiple defined targets, miRNAs offer exceptional opportunities for the development of novel drugs that show enhanced efficacy while avoiding tumor cell resistance,” said Aigner. “Also, miRNAs act on messenger RNAs rather than proteins, thus providing innovative treatment avenues. We are delighted to further pursue our promising miRNA candidates towards possible translation into the clinic, by teaming up with SiSaf and its extensive expertise.”

“We have already applied our technology to improve siRNA and mRNA delivery, with great success,” added Suzanne Saffie-Siebert, PhD, CEO of SiSaf. “This is our first collaboration in micro-interfering RNA delivery and expands our programs into a new area of RNA therapy.”


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