Monday, March 31, 2008

….and the Winner Is: Pfizer and Coley Pharmaceuticals

While at the Keystone meeting, I was reminded that we may already have a winner for the RNAi Therapeutics Deal contest highlighted on this blog. As this contest as to who will be involved in the next large transaction of the RNAi Therapeutics space was still ongoing, Pfizer quietly bought Coley Pharmaceuticals. Although I noted this in one of my entries
and wildly speculated that this $164M acquisition may serve as a stepping stone towards grander RNAi Therapeutics ambitions, it was the 2008 Pfizer Analyst Day that made it clear that the major focus of Coley together with the RTC in Boston would be the development of RNAi Therapeutics.

Given the importance of considering TLR receptors for the design of RNA therapeutics, only highlighted by the recent Nature paper
on the class-related antiangiogenic potential of dsRNAs for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration, it now appears to have been a particularly shrewd acquisition bringing in TLR know-how as well as an established nucleic acids operation. For those hoping another Pfizer-related deal may be imminent, I would rather be skeptical as Pfizer probably has now their hands full organizing and evaluating the potential of this new platform.

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By Dirk Haussecker. All rights reserved.

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