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Alnylam Releases Data Showing siRNAs Can Block Infection in CHO Cells

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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals this week reported data showing that siRNAs designed to target a virus known to infect Chinese hamster ovary cells, which are used to produce recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies, can inhibit infection and viral replication.

In the work, siRNAs were designed and synthesized toward vesivirus, a virus that can infect CHO cells and cause "adverse effects on product quality and/or potential interruption in biologics manufacturing and product supply," the company said. CHO cells grown in suspension culture were infected with vesivirus and then treated with the siRNAs.

"The siRNA treatment was found to potently block viral replication with an approximate 2-log reduction in vesivirus RNA, as measured by PCR," Alnylam noted, adding that the results provide "key proof of concept for applications of RNAi technologies as an antiviral strategy in biologics manufacturing."

About a year ago, Alnylam announced that it established a new initiative, dubbed Alnylam Biotherapeutics, to use its RNAi know-how to improve biologics manufacturing (GSN 11/9/2009).

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