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Inex, Protiva, Benitec

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Inex Plans Spinout for September; Protiva Vows to Block the Move
 
Inex Pharmaceuticals said this week that it expects to complete the spin out of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals in September.
 
Last week, Inex said that it had revised its spinout plan to provide Tekmira with all of its cash, pharmaceutical assets, technology, employees, and partnerships — including its deal with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals for an oligo delivery technology (see RNAi News, 7/13/2006).
 
However, this week Protiva Biotherapeutics — formerly a subsidiary of Inex — said that it will oppose the Tekmira spin out. Protiva and Inex are currently embroiled in a legal dispute over the ownership of the delivery technology licensed to Alnylam (see RNAi News, 6/22/2006).
 
"Our agreements with Inex plainly state that Inex requires Protiva's consent if it wishes to assign them to another party, as it appears Inex is proposing to do," Mark Murray, Protiva's president and CEO, said in a statement. "We have refused to provide that consent and will continue to pursue the available legal remedies to prevent this transaction from happening.
 
“Inex said yesterday it expects to complete the spin out by the end of September,” Murray added. “Given the lack of Protiva's consent and the pending litigation, we do not believe that timeline is either realistic or appropriate."
 
 
Protiva Closes Convertible Debt Financing Round
 
Protiva Biotherapeutics said last week that it has completed a convertible debenture financing with commitments of C$5.6 million ($4.9 million).
 
This third round of financing, which included the company’s existing institutional investors, brings Protiva’s cumulative venture capital financing to C$26 million, the company said.
 
 
Benitec Pulls Opposition to Australian Fire-Mello Patent Application
 
The Carnegie Institution of Washington and the University of Massachusetts Medical School said this week that struggling RNAi drugs firm Benitec has withdrawn its opposition to the institutions’ Australian patent application related to the discovery of RNAi.
 
The application is the Australian version of a US patent commonly known as the Fire-Mello patent, a fundamental piece of IP in the RNAi field and one that is widely available for non-exclusive licensing from Carnegie.
 
According to the institutions, Benitec first opposed the Austalian IP in 2004. However, Benitec has suffered a number of major business setbacks since that time, including a virtual shutdown of its operations last month (see RNAi News, 6/29/2006). 
 
“We are pleased that the process of granting a patent in Australia will now move forward,” Gary Kowalczyk, Carnegie’s director of administration and finance, said in a statement. “We look forward to companies in Australia licensing this intellectual property, and anticipate similar developments in other countries in the future.”

The Scan

Fertility Fraud Found

Consumer genetic testing has uncovered cases of fertility fraud that are leading to lawsuits, according to USA Today.

Ties Between Vigorous Exercise, ALS in Genetically At-Risk People

Regular strenuous exercise could contribute to motor neuron disease development among those already at genetic risk, Sky News reports.

Test Warning

The Guardian writes that the US regulators have warned against using a rapid COVID-19 test that is a key part of mass testing in the UK.

Science Papers Examine Feedback Mechanism Affecting Xist, Continuous Health Monitoring for Precision Medicine

In Science this week: analysis of cis confinement of the X-inactive specific transcript, and more.