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Galenea, Nastech, CytRx, Genta


Galenea Receives NIH Grant to Develop Flu Drug

Galenea said this week that it has been issued a phase I SBIR grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to develop its RNAi-based influenza drug G00101.

Specific details about the grant were not disclosed.

Nastech Presents Preclinical Data on RNAi-based Arthritis Drug

Nastech said this week that it has presented in vitro data showing its RNAi-based treatment for rheumatoid arthritis was able to stop the production of TNF-alpha, a protein that is over-expressed in rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic inflammatory diseases.

"The study also profiled TNF-alpha messenger RNA and protein levels in rheumatoid arthritis patients who are currently on the approved therapies, [and showed that such] patients were unexpectedly shown to have elevated TNF-alpha messenger RNA in their immune cells and TNF-alpha protein in their blood," Nastech said.

CytRx's Q3 Losses Swelled 25 Percent on 53-Percent Jump in R&D Costs

CytRx this week reported that third quarter net loss increased 25 percent on a 53-percent jump in research and development spending.

The company's net loss for the quarter climbed to $3.5 million, or $0.06 per share, from a year-ago loss of $2.8 million, or $0.08 per share. CytRx reported $10,000 in revenues for the third quarter of 2005, versus zero revenues in the same period a year earlier.

The company's R&D costs climbed to $2 million in the quarter from $1.3 million in the third quarter 2004, reflecting increased costs associated with the initiation of a phase II trial of the company's small-molecule amyotrophic lateral sclerosis therapy arimoclomol.

As of Sept. 30, CytRx had cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments totaling $11.2 million.

Genta Antisense Drug May Boost Efficacy of OSI's Tarceva

Genta said this week that preclinical studies indicate that intermittent doses of its antisense drug Genasense may increase the activity of OSI Pharmaceuticals' drug Tarceva.

According to Genta, researchers used murine models of human non-small-cell lung cancer and evaluated Genasense given both continuously as well as every second, third, or fourth day. Intermittent doses of Genasense demonstrated "significant" activity when given alone in this model, whereas Tarceva alone exhibited little activity. However, the combination of Genasense plus Tarceva was superior to either agent alone.

Genta had been developing Genasense as a standalone cancer drug, but ran into difficulties in May 2004 when a US Food and Drug Administration advisory panel recommended that the agency not approve Genasense for advanced melanoma, finding that the company did not provide enough evidence of the drug's benefits. Later that year, Aventis pulled out of a deal to develop Genasense with Genta.

Note: Because of the Thanksgiving holiday in the US, next week RNAi News will publish on Tuesday, Nov. 22. RNAi News will resume its normal publishing schedule on Nov. 28.

The Scan

Not as High as Hoped

The Associated Press says initial results from a trial of CureVac's SARS-CoV-2 vaccine suggests low effectiveness in preventing COVID-19.

Finding Freshwater DNA

A new research project plans to use eDNA sampling to analyze freshwater rivers across the world, the Guardian reports.

Rise in Payments

Kaiser Health News investigates the rise of payments made by medical device companies to surgeons that could be in violation of anti-kickback laws.

Nature Papers Present Ginkgo Biloba Genome Assembly, Collection of Polygenic Indexes, More

In Nature this week: a nearly complete Ginkgo biloba genome assembly, polygenic indexes for dozens of phenotypes, and more.