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Genesis R&D Finalizes Terms of Investment Deal for New Subsidiary

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By Doug Macron

New Zealand's Genesis Research and Development this week announced that it has finalized the terms of a deal with investors that will allow it to establish a subsidiary to develop its single-stranded RNAi technology.

As reported by RNAi News, Genesis first disclosed its plan to create the new company in June as a way to allow investors to back the technology independently of the company's other RNAi and non-RNAi activities (see RNAi News, 6/18/2009).

While publicly available details about the single-stranded RNAi approach are limited, Genesis has said that it involves chemically modified, nucleobase-masked single-stranded oligos designed to form active double-stranded molecules inside a cell once the masking groups are removed by chemical hydrolysis or enzymatic cleavage.

In July, Genesis announced that after the filing of US patent applications on the technology and a review of its novelty, it had received a funding commitment in support of the subsidiary from an undisclosed group of investors (see RNAi News, 7/9/2009).

This week, Genesis said that it has finalized the agreement with the unnamed Japanese investment fund and that the subsidiary, called Solirna Biosciences, will receive up to NZ$1 million ($672,000) in funding based on need.

Genesis will transfer all its ssiRNA-related intellectual property and patent rights to Solirna, and will receive contract research funding from the subsidiary for its services in helping develop the technology.

Specific details of the deal were not disclosed, but Genesis CEO Stephen Hall told RNAi News in an e-mail this week that his company will hold a majority stake in Solirna.

"Completion of all aspects of the transaction requires finalization of certain documentation and approval of Genesis shareholders, which will be sought at a special meeting to be held in September," Hall said in a statement. "Full details of the transaction will be provided to shareholders in explanatory notes for the special meeting."

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