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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

Gone, But Now Reconstructed SARS-CoV-2 Genomes

In a preprint, a researcher describes his recovery of viral sequences that had been removed from a common database.

Rare Heart Inflammation Warning

The Food and Drug Administration is adding a warning about links between a rare inflammatory heart condition and two SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, Reuters reports.

Sandwich Sampling

The New York Times sent tuna sandwiches for PCR analysis.

Nature Papers Describe Gut Viruses, New Format for Storing Quantitative Genomic Data, More

In Nature this week: catalog of DNA viruses of the human gut microbiome, new dense depth data dump format to store quantitative genomic data, and more.