Tacere Therapeutics

Two years after the US Patent and Trademark Office reinstated its core patent, Australia's Benitec Biopharma has once again set its sights on finding licensees for its expressed RNAi intellectual property.

Benitec Biopharma last week said that it has completed its acquisition of Tacere Therapeutics, which was first announced last month.

Although Pfizer's license to the HCV program in markets outside of Asia remains in effect, major restructuring at the big pharma has raised questions about the future of the arrangement.

Benitec gained an equity stake in Tacere as part of a 2006 technology-licensing deal between the firms.

The rights to the intellectual property were previously licensed to Tacere Therapeutics, which is developing an shRNA-based HCV therapy with Pfizer.

Among these is a deal between Dicerna Pharmaceuticals and Japan's Kyowa Hakko Kirin, which announced this week that they have expanded their drug-development partnership to include work in immunologic and inflammatory diseases.

Rosetta Genomics top executive said this week that the firm expects to forge at least one strategic partnership by year end, although he did not specify whether it would be around its diagnostics, drug research biomarker, or therapeutics efforts.

While Tacere is weighing the possible expansion of its pipeline, having met this milestone in its flagship drug-development program, the company's management has set its sights on exiting the field through the sale of the company to a bigger player.

Exiqon said that it has achieved several milestones in a collaboration with Tacere Therapeutics, including the completion of a series of customizable assays for the detection of therapeutic shRNAs currently under development through a partnership between Tacere and Pfizer.

While many firms have successfully met their goals of allying with big pharmas and biotechs, others have failed to do so, despite promises of forthcoming deals.

A former Penn State Hershey Medical Center staffer has admitted to lying about skipping mandatory steps of genetic cancer tests he performed, the Associated Press reports.

The genome of a rare, red bat suggests that its effective population size has been in decline for thousands of years, according to a PLOS One study.

In Nature this week: investigation into the genetics of medulloblastoma, and more.

A project in the UK is to use genomic selection to speed spruce tree growth, according to Innovators Magazine.