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Dharmacon Signs SiRNA Supply Deal with UMass Medical Researcher

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Dharmacon said this week that it has inked a three-year deal to design and supply siRNAs to University of Massachusetts Medical School researcher Michael Czech for use in his ongoing work to develop treatments for type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Czech recently formed a collaboration with RNAi drugs firm CytRx, under which the company is funding work in his lab to develop RNAi-based therapies for type 2 diabetes and obesity. Czech also recently signed on as CSO of CytRx subsidiary Araios, which is using RNAi to identify and develop small molecule compounds to treat the two conditions.

Czech told RNAi News that most of the siRNAs supplied by Dharmacon will be used for the projects with CytRx, although a portion of them will be used in other programs funded by private and government agencies.

He said that he plans to test the “functionality for hundreds, if not thousands, of genes over the next six months to a year,” and that the deal with Dharmacon will allow his lab to “facilitate and promote a fairly large effort … that will likely be one of the most comprehensive efforts in the academic community.

“Looking at thousands of genes in a functional way … has not been feasible previously in tissues [involved in metabolic disease], particularly the fat cells,” Czech added. “Our work over the past several months [with] a variety of targets in a variety of systems gives us confidence that Dharmacon’s siRNAs …will be very effective in validating targets for metabolic disease.”

Czech added that he expects to publish some data from his work over the next year. “That’s the wonderful thing about RNAi,” he said. “We’re able to take a look a lot of genes …[some of which] might not have been thought to be in a particular pathway … in a very short time.”

Dharmacon stands to receive data from Czech’s research in order to help the company gauge the efficacy of its siRNAs.

Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.

 

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