Wednesday, February 10, 2010

RNAi Therapeutics Portfolio Update: Sell Targeted Genetics, Buy Benitec

As I intend to manage the RNAi Therapeutics portfolio more aggressively for performance rather than being more of a representation of the state of RNAi Therapeutics investments, I have decided to take advantage of yesterday’s strength of Targeted Genetics on news that it completed its asset sale to Genzyme. Despite exciting results from their ocular Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis program and what this may imply for the use of AAV in ocular RNAi Therapeutics, at this point there is too little evidence that RNAi Therapeutics will play an important role in the foreseeable future of Targeted Genetics to justify its place in the portfolio, especially in light of almost non-existent active research and development and talent outflow.

The proceeds will be re-invested in Benitec as there are signs that this company could emerge as the only proper surviving DNA-directed RNAi Therapeutics player. News from last week that Pfizer will continue to develop a HCV ddRNAi Therapeutics in which Benitec has a significant stake and a recent patent grant for an hairpin with a long loop are very encouraging.

Disclaimer: Investments in RNAi Therapeutics are highly risky and not suited for most people.The purpose of the blog and model portfolio is to convey a sense of the dynamics in the field and is NOT an endorsement for making related investments. I also have financial interests in some of the companies included in the portfolio. I do not, however, have short positions in any of those.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

While PFE working in ddRNAi is very promising, does anyone really know what Benitec's stake is in all this, financially? They say they have an equity stake in Tacere, but is it significant?

Anonymous said...

Allele Granted Broad Patent on ddRNAi in China.
http://www.allelebiotech.com/News//index.php?mod=article&cat=AlleleNews&article=354

Dirk Haussecker said...

Benitec's stake in Tacere and the HCV program...I don't think this has been disclosed, although Benitec does say that it is significant. I guess we'll get a glimpse once milestone payments are made (assuming that the Aussie security rules are similar to the SEC's).

Allele...I saw the news. As I understand, it is Pol III promoter-driven shRNAs/miRNAs that are covered, including for therapeutics? China certainly interesting market for ddRNAi. Also interesting in light of Benitec's relationship with Biomics.

Anonymous said...

The basic claim of the new China patent covers DNA molecules that encode 16 to 30-nt long siRNAs for the purpose of RNAi, and hairpins. The 3 US patents are more specific to Pol III.

Anonymous said...

Radioshow from AU,Sue mentioned Benitec has just under 5% of Tacere

Anonymous said...

Benitec owns "under 5%" of Tacere? That's hardly significant! Closer to insignificant, I'd say.

Anonymous said...

Benitec owns 4.2% of the equity plus license/royalty income streams over their intellectual property. These latter payments and miletones associated with this are undisclosed. Hardly insignificant.

Anonymous said...

I notice Benitec is no longer in your porfolio, why and when did you sell? What do you think about the new US patents issued to the company and the recent research publications? Do you think Pfizer will acquire them when the 099 Graham Patent is reissued next month?

Dirk Haussecker said...

The reason why Benitec is no longer part of the portfolio is a result of a search for higher returns in the next couple of months and desribed here: http://rnaitherapeutics.blogspot.com/2010/08/rnai-therapeutics-portfolio-review.html

Benitec may well be back in the portfolio in a few months.

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