Cequent | GenomeWeb

Cequent

Marina Biotech announced last week that it has closed its Cambridge, Mass., operations and is consolidating all of its research and development activities at its Bothell, Wash. headquarters.

The move marks the company's foray into the ranks of clinical-stage drug developers and its first steps toward becoming a therapeutics marketer.

Some players in the field cautioned that the industry may be too focused on lipid delivery, potentially passing over other technologies that, while at an earlier stage of development, may ultimately be successful for certain indications.

Calando's management remains optimistic about deals in 2011. But some industry observers expect that it will take years of continued advancement in the RNAi field and a shift in its players' expectations before major deals are consummated.

"Clinical site approval at MGH marks the last regulatory requirement prior to moving our first drug candidate into human trials," Michael French, president and CEO of Marina, said in a statement.

MDRNA, now known as Marina Biotech, plans a 1-for-4 reverse stock split, which will enable it to have enough authorized shares to consummate the acquisition of Cequent.

Rosetta Genomics said that its chief commercialization officer would resign as the company settles into its latest change in corporate direction. But the company is not the only player in the RNAi/microRNA space to experience changes to its management lineup.

The patent applications, entitled "Compositions for Bacterial-Mediated Gene Silencing and Methods Using the Same," relate to Cequent's so-called transkingdom RNAi technology, which involves using attenuated Escherichia coli to transcribe therapeutic shRNAs.

The company said the toxicology work, which is being conducted in non-human primates, will lay the groundwork for a phase II study to begin in 2011.

"We believe [the FAP drug] is a product that the combined company could commercialize with a small specialty sales force [with] minimal sales and marketing infrastructure," MDRNA's President and CEO Michael French said this week.

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