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RXi Pharmaceuticals, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Dharmacon, Nastech Pharmaceutical, MDRNA

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RXi Licenses RNAi Sequences Developed by Dharmacon
 
RXi Pharmaceuticals said last week that it has licensed certain RNAi sequences to an undisclosed number of target genes from Thermo Fisher Scientific.
 
According to RXi, the license includes sequences generated by Thermo Fisher Scientific subsidiary Dharmacon and related to type II diabetes, obesity, neurology, and oncology.
 
RXi said it also obtained the right to license additional RNAi sequences against additional targets.
 
Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.
 

 
Nastech Completes Transfer of RNAi IP to Spinout
 
Nastech Pharmaceutical this week announced that it has completed the transfer of its RNAi-related intellectual property to MDRNA, a planned public spinout that will focus on developing therapeutics based on the gene-silencing technology.
 
“The transfer of intellectual property rights for RNA-based therapeutics from Nastech to MDRNA is an important step in the process of creating MDRNA as an independent company,” Steven Quay, chairman, president, and CEO of Nastech, said in a statement. “We believe MDRNA independence will ultimately enhance Nastech shareholder value … and will be important in attracting external funding for MDRNA.”
 
With the transfer of its RNAi IP — which includes numerous patent applications related to RNA-based drugs and diagnostics, the use of RNAi agents to treat respiratory diseases such as influenza and asthma, and the therapeutic use of Dicer-substrate molecules (see RNAi News, 11/9/2006) — to MDRNA, Nastech’s next step towards establishing the new company’s independence will be to seek roughly $20 million in independent financing from institutional investors and venture capitalists.

 

At the same time, Nastech is gearing up to announce MDRNA’s management team and staff the spinout with the approximately 45 employees currently working on RNAi in-house. Nastech expects to complete these steps in the first quarter of 2008.
 
In the second quarter, Nastech aims to distribute a portion of its MDRNA stock to its current shareholders in the form of a dividend, then float MDRNA’s shares on the Nasdaq exchange.