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Marina Extends Cash Runway to Year End, Sells Off Equipment

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Troubled RNAi drug firm Marina Biotech last week reported its third-quarter financial results, disclosing that a handful of money-raising deals had extended its cash runway until the end of the year.

And while the company reiterated its intention to restart its previously halted research and development operations upon the receipt of the necessary funding, its ability to do so remains unclear as it has sold “substantially all” of its equipment.

“We plan to continue to work with large pharmaceutical companies regarding R&D collaboration agreements or investments, and to pursue public and private sources of financing to raise cash,” Marina said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. “However, there can be no assurance that we will be successful in such endeavors.

“If we are unable to obtain additional capital when required, and in the amounts required, we may be forced to modify, delay or abandon some or all of our programs, or to discontinue operations altogether,” it added.

Marina has been struggling with a severe cash shortfall for some time, and this summer announced that it was halting the majority of its operations and furloughing virtually all of its staff in order to stay afloat (GSN 6/7/2012). The move included the suspension of a phase I trial of the familial adenomatous polyposis drug CEQ508 acquired through the purchase of Cequent Pharmaceuticals in 2010.

The extent of Marina's financial woes was made apparent in October when the company released its long-delayed 2011 financial statements, which showed that it expected its funds to run out by the end of the month. The company has managed to squeak past this date, in part by licensing its technology to other companies, such as its recent deal for its unlocked nucleobase analogs with Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (GSN 12/6/2012).

Still, Marina's prospects remain cloudy.

In last week's financial disclosure, the company said that it pulled in $1.1 million in revenues in the third quarter, up from $286,000 in the same period a year earlier, while operating costs dropped to $2.8 million from $5.9 million. Its net loss also shrank to $1.8 million from $4.4 million.

At the end of the quarter, Marina had $1.1 million in cash, including $700,000 in restricted cash.

But with 10 employees remaining, all of whom are either furloughed or receiving a reduced salary, with operations having been halted at its Washington headquarters, and essentially all of its equipment sold off, there is “substantial doubt about our ability to continue as a going concern,” Marina said in the SEC filing.

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