Monday, September 12, 2011

MicroRNA Therapeutics Company InteRNA Technologies Selects Clinically De-risked AtuPLEX Delivery Technology

Silence Therapeutics and InteRNA Technologies announced today the signing of a collaboration agreement following which the companies will use the endothelial cell-directed AtuPLEX gene knockdown delivery technology for the development of microRNA cancer therapeutics.

The news comes as Atu027, Silence’s RNAi Therapeutics candidate in oncology which also uses AtuPLEX delivery technology, is about to wrap up phase I studies (enrolment to complete by year-end at current rate of recruitment, with follow-up putting data announcement 3 or 4 months after that). Importantly, this study suggests a quite promising safety profile for AtuPLEX with apparently no dose-limiting toxicities so far as doses reach levels where meaningful gene knockdown in endothelial cells can be expected based on the pre-clinical rodent and non-human primate studies.

The deal makes sense to both Silence Therapeutics and InteRNA Therapeutics.For Silence Therapeutics, it is a quite obvious and facile monetization opportunity of its already established AtuPLEX technology with a nucleic acid payload (microRNA mimics discovered by InteRNA) where it does not have a core interest. For InteRNA, it promises to speed up its clinical development efforts as the safety of AtuPLEX has been considerably de-risked by now in the clinic and a lot of the learnings of AtuPLEX, also with regard to regulatory issues, should be applicable to the envisaged microRNA Therapeutics. In this regard, InteRNA may be different from some other microRNA Therapeutics companies that intend to do the heavy lifting of bringing a new small silencing RNA systemic delivery technology into the clinic.

Consequently, I consider this collaboration a win-win for both companies, even more so in financially constraint times. There is considerable synergies to be gained if companies would think more about how they could use their respective strengths to help each other develop promising therapeutic candidates instead of trying to do everything themselves and replicate the mistakes of others.

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By Dirk Haussecker. All rights reserved.

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