Partnership will combine Quark’s RNAi technologies with Nitto’s drug delivery and therapeutic concept IP.

RNAi therapeutics firm Quark Pharmaceuticals inked a collaboration and licensing deal with Japanese materials company Nitto Denko focused on the development of siRNA therapeutics against fibrotic diseases. The firms aim to have the first product IND-ready by early 2012.

The collaboration will combine Quark’s RNAi technologies and novel structures with Nitto Denko’s drug-delivery platform and IP in therapeutic strategies. The firms say the partnership will have an initial budget in the double-digit millions of dollars range.

“This collaboration is a perfect marriage between the core competencies of the two companies,” states Daniel Zurr, Ph.D., Quark CEO. “We shall be using our technologies, intellectual property, and capabilities to quickly bring drug candidates to clinical stage, and Nitto will provide its delivery technologies and therapeutic strategy as well as its capabilities in oligonucleotide production.”

Nitto Denko is a materials manufacturer with a product portfolio spanning polymeric formulations for drug delivery and solid supports for siRNA synthesis. The firm’s research is focused on fields including drug delivery and tissue engineering.

Nitto Denko owns IP to therapeutic concepts originally devised by Yoshiro Niitsu, Ph.D., of Sapporo Medical University in Japan. “I am very confident that siRNA drugs directed simultaneously to one or more specific target genes are the appropriate approach for therapies for a number of fibrotic diseases that are currently a totally unmet medical need, ” he claims. “Our research has demonstrated that adequate siRNA, appropriately delivered to the liver, caused regression of liver fibrosis and significantly prolonged survival time in siRNA-treated animals. It is very likely that this approach is suitable to fibrotic diseases in other organs as well.”

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