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Marina Aims for Industry Partnership in 2012, Posts Lower Q3 Losses

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Marina Biotech said this week that it expects to forge at least one industry partnership in 2012, buoyed by positive preclinical data on its various oligonucleotide drug-discovery platforms.

Marina also released this week its third-quarter financial results, posting a sharp drop in losses amid reduced costs.

Earlier this month, the company announced that incorporating its unlocked nucleobase analogs into siRNAs could reduce microRNA-like off-target activity (GSN 11/3/2011).

Earlier in the year, the firm released data indicating that its conformationally restricted nucleotide technology could be used to develop effective miRNA antagonists (GSN 10/20/2011 &7/14/2011).

And in April, Marina published a paper showing that its DiLA2 liposomes can systemically deliver siRNAs against targets in the liver in animal models (GSN 4/28/2011).

Marina's “drug-discovery engine allows us to capitalize on the advantages of modulating mRNA and microRNA targets with single- or double-stranded constructs, as well as delivery options ranging from simple saline to liposomal and bacterial-based delivery systems,” Marina President and CEO Michael French said in a statement.

“We now believe we are one of the strongest potential partners for pharma companies in the sector and expect to be able to establish one or more partnerships in the coming year,” he added.

In the third quarter, Marina's net loss fell to $4.4 million, or $0.05 per share, from a year-ago loss of $8.3 million, or $0.39 a share.

Revenues in the period slipped to $300,000 from $1.1 million, in part reflecting the sale of non-core assets last year.

Research and development costs dropped to $3 million from $7.5 million, while selling, general, and administrative spending was down more than 50 percent to $1.9 million. In the third quarter last year, Marina recorded a number of charges related to its acquisition of Cequent Pharmaceuticals.

At the end of September, Marina had cash totaling $2.2 million.

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