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Santaris Formally Unveils California Subsidiary, Marking Company's Foray into the US

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By Doug Macron

Santaris Pharma this week formally announced the formation of its US subsidiary, the establishment of which the company said was driven by "increasing interest, new collaborations, and … advancements utilizing [its] proprietary RNA-based locked nucleic acid" technology.

As first reported by RNAi News, the subsidiary will be located in San Diego, Calif., and will be led by Santaris Chief Development Office Arthur Levin, who was previously senior vice president of drug development at antisense shop Isis Pharmaceuticals (see RNAi News, 4/16/2009).

According to Levin, having a US presence will give Santaris access to the expertise found in one of the country's key biotech hubs, which is also a home for many of top researchers in the oligonucleotide therapeutics field.

And although Santaris expects that a limited amount of research and development work may take place within the new unit, it will primarily focus on business development, he noted.

"Of course … some drug-development activities will occur here, but we don't, at this point in time, have firm plans for setting up a research lab in San Diego," Levin told RNAi News.

With a staff of 70, primarily involved in research, at its Denmark headquarters, "the research arm of the company is quite strong," he said. As such, "the San Diego office will function primarily as a place for looking for opportunities in business development, servicing some of our existing collaborations, and looking for new collaborations."

The subsidiary, he added, is expected to be "relatively focused and small," with between 8 and 10 staffers.

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