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CytRx Signs New RNAi Research Partnership with UMass Med School for CMV

NEW YORK, Jan. 13 (GenomeWeb News) - CytRx, of Los Angeles, has extended its collaboration in the area of RNA interference with its academic research partner, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, to include a study of diseases caused by cytomegalovirus, the company said today.


The new agreement gives CytRx exclusive rights to commercialize any products developed with the company's RNAi technology in the area of CMV infection. Specifically, the company sees an opportunity in the area of CMV retinitis. Timothy Kowalik, professor in the department of molecular genetics and microbiology at UMMS, will head up the research program.


"The key to the UMMS technology for CMV retinitis is the delivery method," said Stephen Kriegsman, the CEO of CytRx. "Because CMV retinitis is localized in the eyes, it can potentially be treated via direct delivery of RNAi compounds into the eye, itself, at the site of the infection."


Kriegsman said the company would proceed to clinical trials of a CMV retinitis therapeutic following the research at UMMS, then develop RNAi therapeutics for other CMV-related diseases.   


CytRx and UMMS have ongoing collaborations in the area of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, as well as obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.



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