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Life Tech Seeks Licensee for Therapeutic siRNA Delivery Technology

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By Doug Macron

Life Technologies this week announced that it is seeking a licensee for a therapeutic siRNA-delivery technology that the company says is up to 100 times more potent that its research-only delivery reagents.

According to Xavier de Mollerat du Jeu, senior staff scientist at Life Tech, Invitrogen — which merged with Applied Biosystems in late 2008 to form Life Technologies — had for several years been developing delivery agents that could enable in vivo RNAi research experiments. It introduced the lipid-based agent Invivofectamine in late 2008 and then launched a follow-on product, Invivofectamine 2, two years later.

In the course of developing these and other research reagents, Life Tech's scientists discovered a “new class of [lipid] molecules of extremely high potency and [which] perform 100-fold better than Invivofectamine II,” he said.

He declined to provide specific details on the performance of the delivery vehicle, but said that “it's very comparable to some of the best molecules that Alnylam and Tekmira have.”

For instance, in in vivo testing, siRNAs against factor VII and delivered using the reagent could achieve 50 percent target inhibition at doses of 0.0125 mg/kg. With optimal siRNAs, inhibition of greater than 90 percent could be achieved, although the required dose was higher, de Mollerat du Jeu noted.

The delivery vehicle also has a very favorable toxicity profile, he said, although he did not elaborate.

Maya Tanaka, senior manager of business development and licensing, added that Life Tech has a data package on the technology that will be made available to potential licensees that contact the company directly.

She said that the company has not decided on whether it will license the technology in its entirety or on a target-by-target basis.

“Right now, we are speaking to a number of companies to see what the interest is,” she said. “We're open to a lot of different options and proposals.”


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