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Isis Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Nucleonics and Apath, and Galadeno and Celgene


Isis, Lilly Antisense Drug Moves into Phase I Testing

Isis Pharmaceuticals said this week that the first antisense drug to come from the company’s collaboration with Eli Lilly has moved into phase I testing.

The drug, called LY2181308, targets survivin, a molecule that supports the survival of cells that would normally die through programmed cell death or apoptosis, said Isis. Survivin helps in the abnormal growth of cancer cells, and is found in many types of tumors, the company added.

With the advancement of LY2181308 into human testing, Isis said it earned a $1.5 million milestone payment from Lilly.

Alnylam Reports Q3 Results

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals reported last week its financial results for the third quarter, posting a drop in net loss amid a drop in operating costs.

The company’s net loss for the quarter was $6.4 million, down from a loss of $12 million in the third quarter of 2003.

Research and development spending in the third quarter was $4.8 million, versus $4.2 million in the same period a year earlier, while general and administrative costs jumped to $3 million from $2.3 million. Overall operating expenses fell to $7.8 million in the third quarter from $11.2 million in the year-ago quarter, in part due to a $4.6 million in-process research and development charge in the third quarter of 2003.

Revenues in the period, derived entirely from research collaborators, increased to $1.4 million from $74,000 in the third quarter last year.

As of Sept. 30, Alnylam had cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities totaling $44.9 million.

Nucleonics Licenses Hep C Patent from Apath

Nucleonics said this week that it has signed a deal acquiring a non-exclusive license from Apath to a patent covering the use of the 3’ non-translated region of the hepatitis C viral genome.

According to Nucleonics, it is using this region as a target in its development of an expressed RNAi-based therapeutic for hepatitis C. Nucleonics President and CEO Robert Towarnicki told RNAi News that Apath holds a patent to the region for a variety of uses, and his company essentially took a non-exclusive license to use it in the development of its RNAi drugs.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Galadeno, Celgene Ink Target Discovery Deal

Galadeno, a unit of Galapagos Genomics, has signed a deal to provide its adenoviral siRNA and cDNA libraries, as well as its SilenceSelect and FlexSelect technologies, to Celgene for target discovery.

The terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed.

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.