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The Rise and Fall of RNAi

Pharmaceutical companies' interest in RNA interference is waning, says The New York Times' Andrew Pollack. Roche, Pfizer, and Abbott have all ceased to work on RNAi, though Roche's Klaus Stein says that he has "no doubt that at a certain point in time RNAi will make it to the market," but that there were "opportunities that have higher priorities" to focus on. Pollack adds that it is fairly common for a new technique to enjoy a moment of vogue before some interest in it is lost. RNAi does have a major challenge: delivery. Pollack notes that progress is being made on that front with work from Mark Davis showing RNAi in the bloodstream, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals' tiny lipid particles, and John Rossi's use of apatamers. "A lot of people think it's winter out there for RNAi," says John Maraganore, the chief executive of Alnylam, in the Times. "But I think it's springtime."