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Dicerna, Kyowa Reach In Vivo Activity Milestone in Cancer Collaboration

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Dicerna Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has reached another milestone in its collaboration with Kyowa Hakko Kirin after the Japanese pharmaceutical firm “recognized the successful achievement of an in vivo activity milestone” for a second oncology drug candidate.

As a result, Dicerna received an undisclosed payment.

The companies began working together in early 2010, with Dicerna receiving a $4 million payment in exchange for giving Kyowa the rights to use its Dicer-substrate RNAi technology against cancer targets (GSN 1/7/2010). The arrangement also includes research funding of up to $120 million to Dicerna.

In late 2011, Kyowa opted to further advance the drug, assuming all responsibility for its development, and to begin exploring a second cancer candidate (GSN 12/5/2011). By that time, it had also expanded the arrangement to include immunologic and inflammatory diseases.

“Our partnership with KHK has been very fruitful, resulting in two promising announced programs and additional programs in earlier stages,” Dicerna CEO Douglas Fambrough said in a statement.

“We were particularly pleased with the speed with which this milestone was reached for our second candidate," Etsuo Ohshima, Kyowa's vice president of research, added in the statement. “As has been the case throughout this collaboration, this in vivo success was achieved utilizing Dicerna's DsiRNA molecule in combination with our proprietary drug-delivery system."

Aside from its collaborative work with Kyowa, Dicerna continues work on its own in-house cancer therapeutic and expects to file an investigational new drug application on the molecule before the end of 2013 (GSN 5/24/2012).

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