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Quark Pharmaceuticals, SUNY, Opko, UMMS, RXi Pharmaceuticals

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Quark Extends Hearing Loss Drug Alliance with SUNY
 
Quark Pharmaceuticals said last month that it has extended a research agreement with the State University of New York at Buffalo’s Center for Hearing & Deafness, which is currently conducting preclinical studies of the company’s RNAi-based hearing loss drug candidate, AHLi-11.
 
Specific terms of Quark’s arrangement with the center were not disclosed.
 
AHLi-11, an siRNA that targets p53, is being developed as a therapy for acute hearing loss associated with acoustic trauma or ototoxic drugs such as aminoglycoside antibiotics.
 
“We are encouraged by the advancement of AHLi-11 for acute hearing loss and look forward to filing an IND by year-end for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced hearing loss,” Danny Zurr, CEO of Quark, said in a statement.
 

 
Opko Begins Dosing Patients in Phase III AMD Trial
 
Opko Health said last month that it has dosed the first patient in a phase III trial of the company’s siRNA-based wet age-related macular degeneration drug bevasiranib.
 
The international study — the first phase III trial of an RNAi drug — will assess in more than 330 wet AMD patients whether bevasiranib administered every 8 or 12 weeks is safe and as effective in preventing vision loss as Genentech's top-selling AMD drug Lucentis, which is administered every four weeks.
 
RNAi News first reported on the phase III study’s design in late June (see RNAi News, 6/28/2007).
 
Opko acquired the rights to bevasiranib when it merged with Acuity Pharmaceuticals in March (see RNAi News, 3/29/2007).
 

 
UMMS siRNA Patent, Licensed to RXi, Issues in Australia
 
RXi Pharmaceuticals said this week that an Australian patent it has exclusively licensed in certain fields from the University of Massachusetts Medical School was granted.
 
The patent covers siRNA molecules and their use in methods for inducing RNA interference of a target gene in mammalian cells in vivo, according to RXi. The company holds exclusive rights to the patented technology for inhibiting human cytomegalovirus, the mutant SOD1 gene associated with familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and gene targets associated with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

The Scan

Rise of BA.5

The New York Times reports that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 has become the dominant version of SARS-CoV-2 in the US.

UK Health Secretary Resigns

Sajid Javid, the UK health secretary, resigned along with Chancellor Rishi Sunak, saying they cannot work with Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government, CNN reports.

Clones From Freeze-Dried Cells

A team in Japan has cloned mice from freeze-dried skin cells, according to the Guardian.

Genome Research Papers on Craniosynostosis, Macaque Retrotransposition, More

In Genome Research this week: structural variants in craniosynostosis, LINE-1 activity in rhesus macaque brain, and more.