MDRNA said this week that it has established an "early collaborative effort" with an undisclosed international pharmaceutical partner, its second such arrangement following a deal first announced last year.
MDRNA also released preclinical data showing that its proprietary RNAi molecules, dubbed UsiRNAs, could reduce tumor growth in liver and bladder cancer models when administered using its DiLA2 liposome technology.
According to the company, the collaboration will focus on in vivo delivery of siRNAs using the DiLA2 platform. Research teams at the companies "will examine safety and efficacy of systemic delivery of siRNA in animal models," MDRNA said.
Financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed.
"Between the collaboration we disclosed in September 2009 and this new effort, we believe we are on track to complete a major [research and development] collaboration well before our goal of mid 2010," MDRNA President and CEO Michael French said in a statement.
In regards to the new data, MDRNA said that intravesical delivery of UsiRNAs targeting polo-like kinase 1, a protein involved in cell mitosis and tumor progression, resulted in a "dose-dependent decrease in bioluminescence in a mouse model of orthotopic bladder cancer, with greater than 90 percent reduction at a dose of 1 mg/kg.
"Decreased bioluminescence is generally considered to be a clear indication of reduced tumor growth," the company noted. "The PLK1 UsiRNA has also demonstrated activity in models of orthotopic liver cancer and subcutaneous liver tumors, in which the UsiRNA was delivered by systemic administration of a DiLA2 formulation."