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Philips, RXi to Explore Use of Ultrasound for RNAi Drug Delivery

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Philips Electronics and RXi Pharmaceuticals said today that they have agreed to jointly explore in preclinical studies the use of RXi's self-delivering rxRNA in combination with Philips' ultrasound technology in order to improve the delivery of RNAi therapeutics in cells.

"The development of ultrasound techniques that could non-invasively trigger the delivery of new drug formats such as RNAi therapeutics at a targeted location opens up exciting possibilities for advancing personalized medicine," said Henk van Houten, senior vice president of Philips Research, in a statement.

"By combining RXi's proprietary sd-rxRNA molecules, which have unique properties of 'self delivery', and Philips' ultrasound technologies, we will be working together to achieve targeted and specific delivery to relevant organs and tissues, which could potentially boost the efficacy of RNAi-based disease treatments," added Noah Beerman, President and CEO at RXi.

RXi developed the sd-rxRNA technology in collaboration with Advirna, which it acquired last year. In April, the company signed agreements with Mirna Therapeutics and Miragen Therapeutics to evaluate the molecules as therapeutic microRNA mimics (RNAi News 4/15/2010).

The company claims that its rxRNA molecules offer stability in biological fluids, a low stimulatory effect on the immune system, and high target specificity, and said that Philips' image-guided ultrasound-mediated drug delivery platform offers "a unique approach to investigating the delivery of various therapeutic molecules across blood vessel barriers and facilitating their uptake in cells."

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