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Rosetta Genomics, National Institutes of Health, MDRNA, University of Michigan, RXi Pharmaceuticals

Rosetta, NIH to Collaborate on Identifying miRNAs Involved in HIV
Rosetta Genomics this week said it will work with the National Institutes of Health to discover microRNAs that may be involved in the viral replication of HIV.

Rosetta said it will use its microRNA-detection and quantification technologies, as well as publicly known human and viral microRNAs, to determine the role miRNAs plan in HIV replication and whether they may be used as potential novel drug targets for the disease.

Specific terms of the deal were not released.

MDRNA Licenses Peptide Delivery Tech from University of Michigan
MDRNA said this week that it has exclusively acquired intellectual property from the University of Michigan covering cationic peptides for enhanced delivery of nucleic acids.
Terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.
“The small cationic peptides covered by the University of Michigan intellectual property are capable of forming stable siRNA nanoparticle complexes, thereby protecting the siRNA while increasing the efficiency and efficacy of the formulations,” the company said. “In addition, they can also enhance endosomal release. … Results to date have demonstrated both enhanced knockdown of target proteins in vivo, as well as improvement in delivery efficiency.”

RXi Q2 Losses Drop as R&D Costs Shrink
RXi Pharmaceuticals last week reported a decline in its second-quarter net loss amid a drop in research and development spending.
In the quarter, RXi’s net loss slipped to $4.3 million, or $0.34 per share, from a year-ago loss of $4.8 million, or $0.42 per share.
R&D costs in the quarter dropped to $2.8 million from $3.8 million a year earlier, while general and administrative expenses rose about $500,000 to $1.6 million, reflecting the costs associated with RXi’s operating as a public company following its spin out from CytRx (see RNAi News, 3/13/2008).
As of June 30, RXi had cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments totaling $15.1 million.

The Scan

Genetic Risk Factors for Hypertension Can Help Identify Those at Risk for Cardiovascular Disease

Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.