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The patent, EP1633890, is part of the so-called Zamore IP estate and claims rules for designing RNAi molecules with improved potency and fewer off-target effects.

Among the companies experiencing management shakeups are RXi Pharmaceuticals, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Silence Therapeutics, and Traversa Therapeutics.

The company hopes the positive safety profile of the drug will entice industry partners interested in licensing siRNA delivery systems, Silence's CEO said.

The company also said that the planned closing of its California facility is expected to be completed in the third quarter.

The abstracts provided quick glimpses of new phase I data on the companies' respective siRNA-based cancer drugs, showing that both are well-tolerated and providing hints about their possible efficacy.

The patent claims siRNAs containing proprietary 2’-O-methyl structures.

Silence said that the offering, if completed, would extend its cash runway from the third quarter of this year until mid-2012.

The presentation will focus on data from an ongoing phase I study with Atu027 in subjects with advanced solid cancer. “Key findings presented will include safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic data, as well as indications of anti-tumor activity,” Silence said.

One patient in the study has experienced “remarkable shrinkage” of both target and non-target lesions, according to Silence.

While there had been optimism that Silence could successfully negotiate a buyout, recent pullbacks by the handful of big pharmas that represented the biggest technology acquirers in the RNAi space cast doubt on whether the transaction would ever occur.


The US has sent its formal notice of withdrawal from the World Health Organization, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Science reports that a draft spending bill would increase the US National Institutes of Health budget by 13 percent.

The Harvard Crimson reports that Harvard and MIT are suing the Department of Homeland Security and ICE over the new international student visa policy.

In Nucleic Acids Research this week: algorithm to determine molecular sequence types and other microbial features, computational method to uncover R-loop structures, and more.