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Alnylam, M-Medical, MWG, CytRx, NSF, TGen, IGC


Alnylam Presents Preclinical In Vivo on RSF Drug Candidate

Alnylam said last week that it presented in vivo efficacy data for its lead RNAi therapeutic candidate for respiratory syncytial virus at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in San Antonio, Texas.

According to the company, the data demonstrated that a single low dose of an optimized siRNA, called ALN-RSV01, inhibited RSV replication both as a prophylactic and as a treatment when administered by intranasal delivery in a liquid form.

Pre-clinical studies demonstrated that a 2 mg/kg dose of ALN-RSV01 protected mice against subsequent RSV infection. ALN-RSV01 was also shown to be effective in the treatment of an existing RSV infection, the company said.

Alnylam noted that additional studies in mice demonstrated that intranasal administration of ALN-RSV01 did not activate an interferon response. The company said it is also currently investigating topical delivery of ALN-RSV01 to the lung by aerosolization through a nebulizer.

"Alnylam is rapidly progressing toward our goal of developing a safe and efficacious RNAi therapeutic for the treatment of RSV infection," John Maraganore, president and CEO of Alnylam, said in a statement. "Based on the encouraging pre-clinical data we have seen to date, we are driving ALN-RSV01 forward toward human clinical trials in the first half of 2006."

M-Medical Becomes Exclusive Italian Distributor for MWG

M-Medical will become MWG Biotech's exclusive distributor for its services in Italy, MWG said this week.

Starting May 1, M-Medical, based in Cornaredo, near Milan, will distribute MWG's DNA and siRNA synthesis and DNA-sequencing services in Italy.

M-Medical, owned by D-Group, distributes products and instruments to the clinical and research market in Italy.

CytRx Finishes Enrollment in Clinical Trial of DNA Vaccine for HIV Early

CytRx said this week that it has completed enrollment of healthy volunteers in a phase I study of its DNA-based HIV vaccine.

The primary objective of the phase I clinical trial is to determine the safety and tolerability of different dosages and routes of administration of the DNA vaccine, and a fixed dosage and route of administration of an HIV protein boost, CytRx said.

According to CytRx, the enrollment was completed six months earlier than expected. As a result, the company expects dosing to be completed by the end of July, six months earlier than previously anticipated.

NSF Earmarks $500,000 for Creation of RNA Ontology

An international team of scientists has formed a consortium to create a common vocabulary for RNA researchers, the researchers said this week.

Funded with $500,000 over five years from the National Science Foundation, the RNA Ontology Consortium, headed by Neocles Leontis, a professor of chemistry at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, plans to develop a common vocabulary and scientific concepts relating to RNA structure and function.

The researchers plan to identify all RNA motifs in the literature and write a definition for each motif. Their results will be available to researchers on the web through servers hosted at BGSU.

The consortium includes researchers from Stanford University, Duke University, Yale University, Rutgers University, Georgia Tech University, the University of Calfornia Berkeley, the University of North Carolina, the University of Rochester, the University of Montreal, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Institut de Biologie Moleculaire et Cellulaire in France, and the Scripps Research Institute.

TGen, IGC's New Headquarters Open

The City of Phoenix this week officially opened the $46 million dollar headquarters for the Translational Genomics Institute and International Genomics Consortium as part of the state-funded Phoenix Biomedical Center.

The 173,000 square-foot TGen/IGC building is owned by the City of Phoenix, and forms the foundation for the 28-acre PBC, which is part of an Arizona initiative to lure more biotech companies to a cluster that includes the Mayo Clinic, NIDDK, the Barrow Neurological Institute, and others.

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano called the PBC "very important for the state's future economic growth" and said it will "benefit all [of Arizona's] citizens."

The Scan

Tens of Millions Saved

The Associated Press writes that vaccines against COVID-19 saved an estimated 20 million lives in their first year.

Supersized Bacterium

NPR reports that researchers have found and characterized a bacterium that is visible to the naked eye.

Also Subvariants

Moderna says its bivalent SARS-CoV-2 vaccine leads to a strong immune response against Omicron subvariants, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Science Papers Present Gene-Edited Mouse Models of Liver Cancer, Hürthle Cell Carcinoma Analysis

In Science this week: a collection of mouse models of primary liver cancer, and more.