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Benitec, Isis Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer, CytRx

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Benitec to Present Preclinical Hep C Data in June

Benitec said this week that it will present preclinical data on an RNAi-based drug for hepatitis C at the American Society for Gene Therapy meeting in St. Louis, which is taking place on June 1-5.

"We are happy to have four presentations accepted by the ASGT," Sara Cunningham, Benitec CEO, said in a statement.


Isis Inks Antisense Collaboration for Eye Diseases with Pfizer …

Isis Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has formed a multi-year collaboration with drug giant Pfizer to identify second-generation antisense drugs for the treatment of ophthalmic disease.

The companies will work together to use Isis' antisense platform to identify drugs against targets selected by Pfizer, which will be responsible for clinical development and product commercialization. Pfizer may develop the antisense drugs identified in the collaboration for all human health indications, Isis noted.

According to Isis, it will be paid a $1 million technology access fee by Pfizer, and stands to receive research funding, milestone payments, and royalties on the sale of drugs resulting from the collaboration.

Additional terms were not disclosed.


... And Reports Antisense's Potential for Asthma

Isis also announced this week that preclinical data indicates that its second-generation antisense technology can be used to inhibit the activity of proteins tied to inflammation and improved a variety of symptoms in mouse models of asthma and chronic lung inflammation.

Isis said the data were presented at the 100th Annual Meeting of the American Thoracic Society.

"With one aerosol drug in development, and a number of aerosol drugs in late-stage preclinical research, Isis has now demonstrated the feasibility of this new route of administration for antisense drugs," C. Frank Bennett, Isis' vice president of antisense research, said in a statement.


CytRx Files IND for Small Molecule ALS Treatment

CytRx said this week that it has filed an investigational new drug application to begin phase II testing of the small molecule arimoclomol as a treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The company said it expects a phase II study to begin in June.

Earlier this month, CytRx announced that arimoclomol, which was acquired from Hungarian drug maker Biorex Research & Development in late 2004, had received orphan drug status from US regulators.

The Scan

Billions for Antivirals

The US is putting $3.2 billion toward a program to develop antivirals to treat COVID-19 in its early stages, the Wall Street Journal reports.

NFT of the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, who developed the World Wide Web, is auctioning its original source code as a non-fungible token, Reuters reports.

23andMe on the Nasdaq

23andMe's shares rose more than 20 percent following its merger with a special purpose acquisition company, as GenomeWeb has reported.

Science Papers Present GWAS of Brain Structure, System for Controlled Gene Transfer

In Science this week: genome-wide association study ties variants to white matter stricture in the brain, and more.