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Benitec to Collaborate with Stanford University on Pain Drug

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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.

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