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Nastech Pharmaceuticals, Gen-Probe, Alnylam, ALS Association

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Nastech Presents In Vivo, In Vitro Data from Flu Program

Nastech Pharmaceuticals this week released in vivo and in vitro data demonstrating that its siRNAs are able to target and inhibit influenza virus production.

Nastech acquired its RNAi-based flu program from Galenea last month (see RNAi News, 2/23/2006).

According to the company, in vitro screening results identified "highly potent siRNAs with IC50 values between 20 and 500 pM that were effective against representative human and avian influenza strains, including H5N1 avian influenza virus."

In vivo data show that "direct-to-lung and intravenous administrations of selected proprietary formulations of siRNAs effectively inhibit influenza viral production in a preclinical model. A 200-fold reduction of viral concentration in the blood was observed," the company said.

The data were presented at the 8th International Symposium on Respiratory Viral Infections Conference, Nastech said.


Gen-Probe Licenses HPA Technology to Alnylam

Gen-Probe said last week that it has non-exclusively licensed its hybridization protection assay technology to Alnylam Pharmaceuticals for the development of therapeutic RNAi molecules.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.


ALS Foundation Funds Monkey Study of Isis ALS Drug

The ALS Association said this week that it is funding a safety study in monkeys of an Isis Pharmaceuticals antisense-based drug designed to lower production of a mutant protein linked to certain inherited cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The drug researchers will contract with an outside facility to study 20 rhesus monkeys who will receive the antisense candidate, called ISIS 333611, delivered into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord, ALSA said. Delivery directly into the CSF is also the approach the investigators expect to use for human trials.

The size of ALSA's funding was not disclosed.

The Scan

Germline-Targeting HIV Vaccine Shows Promise in Phase I Trial

A National Institutes of Health-led team reports in Science that a broadly neutralizing antibody HIV vaccine induced bnAb precursors in 97 percent of those given the vaccine.

Study Uncovers Genetic Mutation in Childhood Glaucoma

A study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation ties a heterozygous missense variant in thrombospondin 1 to childhood glaucoma.

Gene Co-Expression Database for Humans, Model Organisms Gets Update

GeneFriends has been updated to include gene and transcript co-expression networks based on RNA-seq data from 46,475 human and 34,322 mouse samples, a new paper in Nucleic Acids Research says.

New Study Investigates Genomics of Fanconi Anemia Repair Pathway in Cancer

A Rockefeller University team reports in Nature that FA repair deficiency leads to structural variants that can contribute to genomic instability.