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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

Pfizer-BioNTech Seek Full Vaccine Approval

According to the New York Times, Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking full US Food and Drug Administration approval for their SARS-CoV-2 vaccine.

Viral Integration Study Critiqued

Science writes that a paper reporting that SARS-CoV-2 can occasionally integrate into the host genome is drawing criticism.

Giraffe Species Debate

The Scientist reports that a new analysis aiming to end the discussion of how many giraffe species there are has only continued it.

Science Papers Examine Factors Shaping SARS-CoV-2 Spread, Give Insight Into Bacterial Evolution

In Science this week: genomic analysis points to role of human behavior in SARS-CoV-2 spread, and more.