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Dharmacon, Inex Pharmaceuticals, RNAx, VWR


Three New Institutions Join Dharmacon's RNAi Screening Initiative

Dharmacon announced this week that Harvard Medical School, Stanford Medical School, and the VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands have joined the company's Genome-Wide RNAi Global Initiative, bringing the total number of initiative members to 15.

The initiative was started by Dharmacon late last year as part of an effort to help establish standards for conducting RNAi screening experiments while familiarizing member organizations with the company's RNAi products (see RNAi News, 10/7/2005).

"The addition of these new members with international reputations for research excellence will help strengthen the collaborative efforts of RNAi Global members to standardize and accelerate whole-genome RNAi screening," William Marshall, vice president of technology and business development at Dharmacon parent Fisher Biosciences, said in a statement.

Inex Revises Spin-Out Plan; New Company Will Own Oligo Delivery Technology

Inex Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has revised its plan for spinning out Tekmira Pharmaceuticals in part to fulfill a commitment made under a debt purchase and settlement agreement with the previous holders of certain convertible promissory notes.

Under the new spin-out plan, Inex's oligo delivery technology licensing arrangement with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals will be transferred entirely to Tekmira. The technology covered by that deal is currently the subject of litigation with former Inex subsidiary Protiva Biotherapeutics (see RNAi News, 6/22/2006).

Additionally, all of Inex's cash, pharmaceutical assets, and employees will be transferred to the spinout under the new plan.

Completion of this revised plan would allow Inex, which would have no pharmaceutical assets, to complete a financing with an investor group committed to investing $5.6 million in Inex by way of convertible debentures. The investor group will then acquire a new business for Inex.

RNAx Inks Sales Representation Deal with VWR

RNAx said last week that it has formed a co-exclusive, multi-year strategic alliance with German distribution firm VWR for sales representation for RNAx's automated RNAi validation services.

According to RNAx, its siRNA and shRNA validation services will now be available throughout Europe via local VWR representatives.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"With the experienced team of VWR's sales representatives, we will be able to target many more researchers and generate substantially more leads than we would ever have been able to do alone, even by investing in extending our own business development team," Jorg Potzsch, CEO of RNAx, said in a statement.

The Scan

Another Resignation

According to the Wall Street Journal, a third advisory panel member has resigned following the US Food and Drug Administration's approval of an Alzheimer's disease drug.

Novavax Finds Its Vaccine Effective

Reuters reports Novavax's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine is more than 90 percent effective in preventing COVID-19.

Can't Be Used

The US Food and Drug Administration says millions of vaccine doses made at an embattled manufacturing facility cannot be used, the New York Times reports.

PLOS Papers on Frozen Shoulder GWAS, Epstein-Barr Effects on Immune Cell Epigenetics, More

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of frozen shoulder, epigenetic patterns of Epstein-Barr-infected B lymphocyte cells, and more.