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Santaris Q1 Loss Narrows, Completes Phase I Trial of miRNA HCV Rx

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Santaris Pharma last week issued its interim financial report for the first quarter of 2009, posting a more than 60 percent improvement in its quarterly loss on a surge in revenues.

The company also announced that a phase I study of its microRNA-targeting hepatitis C therapy, dubbed SPC3649, was completed this month. Data from this trial, the first to evaluate an miRNA antagonist in humans (see RNAi News, 5/29/2008), is slated for public release in the second half of the year.

Santaris added that an additional phase I study, examining multiple doses of SPC3649 in healthy volunteers, is expected to begin before the end of 2009.

For the three-month period ended March 31, Santaris' loss fell to DKK12.9 million ($2.3 million) from DKK35.8 million in the same period a year ago. Revenues in the quarter, meanwhile, jumped to DKK16.8 million from DKK6.8 million.

Also contributing to the smaller loss was a decline in Santaris' research and development spending, which fell to DKK31.5 million in the first quarter from DKK40.6 million the year before. The company recently undertook a cost-cutting plan that included a narrowing of its therapeutic focus to metabolic disorders and infectious disease.

As of March 31, Santaris had cash and cash equivalents totaling DKK198.2 million, which, along with expected payments from collaborators, the company expects will be sufficient to fund its operations "beyond 2010."

Looking ahead, the company said that it expects to post a loss for 2009 of between DKK115 million and DKK125 million.

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