Genesis Research and Development

With Marina Biotech's back against the wall, the RNAi drugs field may soon see the departure of its third player this year, following the bankruptcy of Traversa Therapeutics and the acquisition of Tacere Therapeutics by Benitec Biopharma.

The private placement, the New Zealand-based company said, is expected to close within the next two weeks.

Work on single-stranded RNAi technology that Genesis had been conducting for its subsidiary Solirna Biosciences has also ceased, although it may restart if an existing investor provides additional financing.

Genesis said it once again needs additional financing to allow its subsidiary to demonstrate in vivo proof of principle for its ssRNAi, a milestone that will trigger additional funding by a key investor.

As reported by RNAi News earlier this month, the long-struggling Genesis recently received a commitment from Japanese biotech firm MediBic Group to invest up to NZ$1 million ($750,000) in the planned subsidiary, Solirna BioSciences.

According to Genesis, the primary investor in the subsidiary is Japan's MediBic Group, which is primarily a pharmacogenomics firm but has made investments in RNAi drug shop Intradigm.

According to the company, an unnamed Japanese investment firm has agreed to provide up to NZ$1 million ($672,000) in funding to the subsidiary, which will develop Genesis' single-stranded RNAi technology.

Genesis said that it has received a commitment from an undisclosed group for an investment in the subsidiary, which would develop its single-stranded RNAi technology. But with about two months worth of cash in the bank, the company is asking shareholders to make new equity investments.

The cash-strapped shop is betting that such a unit would embolden investors to back Genesis' ssRNAi technology independent of the company's other RNAi programs.

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