Alnylam Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has licensed intellectual property related to RNAi applications in vaccine development from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the University of Queensland in Australia.
Specific terms of the arrangements were not disclosed.
The company said it is collaborating with researchers at Mount Sinai to develop microRNA-based attenuated influenza viruses that have benefits over live attenuated influenza vaccines.
"Specifically, microRNA-based attenuation of H1N1 and H5N1 influenza viruses resulted in novel viral antigens that conferred protection in mice from lethal flu infection," Alnylam said. "This technology is applicable to any virus amenable to recombinant production, and allows for the generation of viruses which can be efficiently propagated in one species and used as a live attenuated vaccine in another."
The company has also been working with the University of Queensland to use RNAi to develop cancer vaccines.
One of Alnylam's collaborators there used RNAi to "generate truncated target gene mRNA transcripts in cancer cells," the RNAi shop said. "The truncated transcripts were then translated into incomplete proteins and found to be highly effective at inducing a tumor-protective immune response."