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Benitec to Collaborate with Stanford University on Pain Drug


Benitec Biopharma this week said that it is collaborating with Stanford University to test its expressed RNAi-based neuropathic pain treatment, called Nervarna, in vivo.

Nervarna is designed to inhibit protein kinase C gamma, which plays a role in various cellular signaling pathways. Benitec aims to initially develop the drug for use in terminally ill cancer patients.

Through the newly announced collaboration, Stanford researcher David Yeomans will test the agent in a spared-nerve injury model. Benitec CEO Peter French said in a statement that data generated from the experiments, if positive, will lay the groundwork for clinical testing of Nervarna in 2013.

This timeline represents an improvement from previous company guidance, provided in June, putting the drug on track to enter human testing in early 2014 (GSN 6/21/2012).

French added that the data are also expected to support Benitec's efforts to secure a pharmaceutical industry partner for the pain program.

The Scan

Could Mix It Up

The US Food and Drug Administration is considering a plan that would allow for the mixing-and-matching of SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and boosters, the New York Times says.

Closest to the Dog

New Scientist reports that extinct Japanese wolf appears to be the closest known wild relative of dogs.

Offer to Come Back

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the University of Tennessee is offering Anming Hu, a professor who was acquitted of charges that he hid ties to China, his position back.

PNAS Papers on Myeloid Differentiation MicroRNAs, Urinary Exosomes, Maize Domestication

In PNAS this week: role of microRNAs in myeloid differentiation, exosomes in urine, and more.