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Isis Pharmaceuticals, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Applied Biosystems

Isis Adds New Diabetes Drug Candidate to Pipeline
Isis Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has added a new antisense-based diabetes drug candidate to its pipeline.
The drug, called Isis 388626, targets the sodium dependent glucose transporter type 2 and is designed to increase glucose excretion in the kidney.
"This is the first kidney target that we have approached with our second-generation drugs, and we are quite encouraged by what we have seen in the animal models,” Sanjay Bhanot, vice president of metabolic diseases and research at Isis, said in a statement. “We know that antisense drugs distribute most readily to the liver, kidney, fat cells, bone marrow and spleen, so selecting targets in these tissues is part of our strategy for developing effective drugs.”


Alnylam Publishes Preclinical Data on RNAi-Based Huntington’s Drug

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals this week announced the publication of data showing that chemically synthesized siRNA targeting the gene responsible for Huntington’s disease can produce a therapeutic benefit in an animal model of the disorder.
The data appear in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and were generated in experiments conducted by researchers from Alnylam, the University of Massachusetts Medical School, and Massachusetts General Hospital.
According to the company, the data showed that a single injection of an siRNA targeting the huntingtin gene improved symptoms of the disease in the animal model. Therapeutic benefits included reduction in neuronal pathology and an improvement in motor behavior.
The RNAi agent also reduced expression of mutant huntingtin in the brain and sustained a benefit in motor behavior for at least one week, Alnylam said. The drug also appeared well tolerated.
Alnylam is collaborating on the development of a treatment for Huntington’s disease with Medtronic under a 2005 agreement (see RNAi News, 2/11/2005).


ABI Tech Used to Identify miRNA Markers of Testicular Cancer
Applied Biosystems said this week that researchers from Erasmus MC-University Medical Center in Rotterdam have used the company’s real-time PCR technology and microRNA assays to identify miRNA-based markers associated with testicular cancer.
According to the company, the researchers found that miRNA expression profiles in testicular tumors provided information about malignancy. The full findings will appear in the November issue of the Journal of Pathology.

"These findings have provided us with a new level of information for understanding the biology of cancer and these will also be applicable to breast, lung, colon, and other cancers," Leendert Looijenga, an investigator at the Erasmus Medical Center and co-author of the paper, said in a statement.

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

PLOS Papers Present Analysis of Cervicovaginal Microbiome, Glycosylation in Model Archaea, More

In PLOS this week: functional potential of the cervicovaginal microbiome, glycosylation patterns in model archaea, and more.