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CytRx, Rodman & Renshaw Techvest Healthcare Conference, Massachusetts Biotechnology Council s Mass Opportunities, National Conference on Biotechnology Ventures, Qiagen, Knowledge Foundation, Biophysical Society


CytRx Exclusively Licenses Out Non-RNAi Assets to SynthRx

In line with its efforts to refocus entirely on RNAi, CytRx said this week that it has exclusively licensed Flocor, a phase III intravenous agent being developed for sickle cell disease treatment, as well as its OptiVax vaccine delivery technology and related anti-infective products, to SynthRx.

In exchange for the assets, CytRx said that it has received a 19.9 percent stake in SynthRx, as well as an undisclosed upfront fee. CytRx also stands to receive milestones and royalties on the sale of products developed using the licensed technology.

“By transferring the commercialization efforts on Flocor and related drugs to SynthRx, in which we will have a large equity interest, CytRx sharpens its corporate focus on the technologies that we believe have the greatest opportunity to benefit shareholders in the future,” Steven Kriegsman, CEO of CytRx, said in a statement.

Houston-based SynthRx is headed by CytRx co-founder Robert Hunter, who led the early clinical development of Flocor.

RNAi Companies to Present at Biotech Conferences This Month

A number of RNAi companies are heading out onto the conference circuit this month.

At the Rodman & Renshaw Techvest Healthcare Conference in Boston, CytRx, Genta, Nucleonics, Sequitur, and Sirna are on the agenda.

The conference will be held on October 21-23 at the Boston Marriott Long Wharf Hotel. Details on the event can be found at

Representatives from Alnylam, Nucleonics, and Sirna are also scheduled to appear at the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council’s Mass Opportunities biotechnology investment conference on Oct. 27-28.

This meeting will be held at the Logan Airport Hilton. Details can be found at

The National Conference on Biotechnology Ventures, which will be held on Oct. 27-29 in San Francisco, will feature a session on RNA interference, which will be chaired by Buck Phillips, managing director of Vector Fund Management. The session is to include presentations by Nucleonics, Alnylam, and Sirna Therapeutics.

Details about the NCBV event can be found at

Qiagen Prepares to Release Third Quarter Results, Schedules Conference Call

Qiagen is scheduled to release its financial results for the period ended Sept. 30 on Oct. 27. The company has also scheduled a conference call to discuss the details for the next day at 9:30 am EST.

The call can be accessed over the internet at Slides corresponding with the presentation can be downloaded from the investor relations portion of the company’s website (

Knowledge Foundation’s Annual RNA in Drug Development Conference to Include RNA Delivery Workshop

The Knowledge Foundation has scheduled a new RNA delivery workshop during its third annual RNA in Drug Development Conference: RNA as a Tool and a Target.

The conference is being held on Nov. 10-11 in San Diego, and will address topics such as photoaptamers, alternative mRNA splicing, and strategies for rational ligand discovery. The workshop, to be held on the conference’s final day, will focus on the delivery of siRNA to retinal cells, antisense delivery, lentivirus vector-mediated expression of RNAi, ssDNA expression systems, and the delivery of siRNA in vivo.

Details about the conference can be found at

RNAi Session Scheduled for Biophysical Society Annual Meeting

The Biophysical Society’s 48th Annual Meeting, scheduled for Feb. 14-18 in Baltimore, will include a symposium dedicated to RNA interference featuring four prominent researchers from the field.

The symposium is to be chaired by Duke Univer- sity’s Bryan Cullen. Speakers include: UMass’ Phil Zamore, whose presentation is entitled Ancient Pathways Programmed by Small RNAs; Cullen, who will discuss the inhibition of cellular and viral gene expression using RNAi; Traci Hall from the National Institute on Environmental Health Sciences, who is to talk on crystal structure and binding specificity of an RNAi silencing suppressor; and MIT’s Luk van Parjis, who will present on the use of RNAi to study disease processes.

Details about the meeting can be found at


The Scan

Study Finds Few FDA Post-Market Regulatory Actions Backed by Research, Public Assessments

A Yale University-led team examines in The BMJ safety signals from the US FDA Adverse Event Reporting System and whether they led to regulatory action.

Duke University Team Develops Programmable RNA Tool for Cell Editing

Researchers have developed an RNA-based editing tool that can target specific cells, as they describe in Nature.

Novel Gene Editing Approach for Treating Cystic Fibrosis

Researchers in Science Advances report on their development of a non-nuclease-based gene editing approach they hope to apply to treat cystic fibrosis.

Study Tracks Responses in Patients Pursuing Polygenic Risk Score Profiling

Using interviews, researchers in the European Journal of Human Genetics qualitatively assess individuals' motivations for, and experiences with, direct-to-consumer polygenic risk score testing.