NEW YORK, April 21 - CytRx has signed a license agreement with the University of Massachusetts Medical School for its proprietary portfolio of applications for RNAi-based gene silencing technology in obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.
As part of the agreement, CytRx will issue UMMS approximately 1.6 million shares of its common stock, establishing the university as the company's second-largest shareholder.
CytRx said the suite of applications it is licensing from UMMS "may be considered the world's largest proprietary portfolio" of such technology. UMMS faculty member Craig Mello and Andrew Fire of the Carnegie Institution of Washington developed the approach, which uses RNA to selectively turn off the harmful genes of infectious viruses or malignant tumor cells, in 1997.
Louis Ignarro, chairman of CytRx's scientific advisory board, will head up the gene silencing research collaboration between CytRx and UMMS.