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While Merck made headlines for striking big pharma’s first collaboration with an RNAi therapeutics firm, it turns out that another traditional drug developer had already embraced the field on its own. Privately held Japanese pharmaceutical firm Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. recently began pursuing the development of RNA interference-based drugs — in part due to the efforts of one of its scientists — and is now hoping to identify a disease against which to apply the technology in the next six months, RNAi News has learned.

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