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Calando Pharmaceuticals, Invitrogen, Applied Biosystems

Calando Announces Pre-Clinical Development of Next siRNA Cancer Drug
Calando Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Arrowhead Research, said this week that it has begun pre-clinical development of its next siRNA-based cancer drug, called CALAA-02, which is now expected to enter human trials next year.
According to the company, the compound will target hypoxia-inducible factor-2 alpha, which is over-expressed in multiple solid tumors and is necessary for various aspects of tumor growth including angiogenesis and cell proliferation.
Like Calando’s lead siRNA drug, the phase I solid tumor therapy CALAA-01, the new candidate will incorporate the company’s Rondel delivery technology. Calando CEO James Hamilton told RNAi News in an e-mail this week that the company’s goal is “to show how our delivery system is independent of siRNA sequence and how we can rapidly move new siRNA therapeutics from target validation to” an investigational new drug application filing.
He also noted that while both drugs are being developed for solid tumors, CALAA-02’s target is up-regulated in different classes of cancers than CALAA-01’s, making it appropriate for renal cell carcinoma and potentially non-small cell lung cancer.
CALAA-01 targets the M2 subunit of ribonucleotide reductase.
“While we [are] not exactly sure where the best indication for CALAA-01 will be, we think as CALAA-01 and CALAA-02 have specific, yet very different mechanisms, that they will be used in different types of solid tumors,” Hamilton said in his e-mail.

Invitrogen, ABI Combo to Have Four Core Divisions
As the acquisition of Applied Biosystems by Invitrogen draws closer, the firms announced this week that the newly merged firm would operate under four core divisions: molecular biology systems, genetic systems, cell systems, and mass spectrometry systems.
They also announced the management team that will oversee these four divisions and other functions.
The molecular biology systems division will be led by Peter Dansky, who currently serves as leader of ABI’s molecular and cell biology functional analysis division. It will include the workflows of both firms related to molecular biology, such as gene expression, genotyping, gene regulation, and proteomics.
The genetic systems division will be led by Kip Miller, who currently serves as leader of Invitrogen’s Biodiscovery division. It will include ABI’s capillary electrophoresis and SOLiD sequencing systems, as well as Invitrogen’s third-generation sequencing development program.
The cell systems division will be led by Nicolas Barthelemy, who currently heads Invitrogen’s cell systems division. It will include Invitrogen’s current cell systems operations and ABI’s Poros and Tropix business lines.
The mass spectrometry division will be led by Laura Lauman, who currently leads ABI’s proteomics and small molecule division, and will house ABI’s mass spec business.
As previously announced, Invitrogen Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier will hold the same titles for the merged company, which will retain the Applied Biosystems name. ABI President and COO Mark Stevenson will retain those titles following the merger.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.