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Stratagene, Pfizer, Genta

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Stratagene Licenses miRNA Sequences for Dx Development
 
Stratagene said this week that it has acquired a license to more than 150 microRNA sequences from the Max Planck Society.
 
Under the terms of the deal, Stratagene will have the right to use the sequences for the development, manufacture, and sale of molecular diagnostic kits.
 
Financial terms of the arrangement were not disclosed.
 
“We are very excited to move into the microRNA area,” Joseph Sorge, chairman and CEO of Stratagene, said in a statement. “The potential of these sequences, when paired with our proprietary FullVelocity technology, should allow us to develop important detection tests for the molecular diagnostics marketplace.”
 

 
Pfizer Begins Phase I Trial of RNAi-Based AMD Drug
 
SR Pharma said this week that Pfizer has begun phase I testing of an siRNA-based treatment for age-related macular degeneration that was developed by SR Pharma subsidiary Atugen.
The drug, called RTP-801i, silences RTP-801, which plays a role in angiogenesis, vascular permeability, and retinal neuron death. It was developed by Atugen and licensed to Quark Biotech, which partnered the drug with Pfizer last year (see RNAi News, 9/28/2006).
 
Atugen stands to receive up to $95 million in milestones from the drug’s development. SR Pharma said the initiation of phase I testing triggered a $1.5 million milestone payment.
 

 
Genta to Appeal FDA Rejection of Antisense Cancer Drug
 
Genta said this week that it will appeal the US Food and Drug Administration’s decision to issue a non-approvable notice for the company’s antisense cancer drug Genasense.
 
In December, the company received a non-approvable notice for Genasense as a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia in combination with chemotherapy. Previously, an FDA advisory panel had rejected the drug as a treatment for advanced melanoma, a development that led to the end of the company’s collaboration with Sanofi-Aventis (see RNAi News, 11/12/2004).
In light of the clinical setbacks, Genta has restructured itself and recently laid off 35 percent of its workforce (see RNAi News, 12/21/2006).
 
Genasense inhibits production of Bcl-2, a protein made by cancer cells that is thought to block chemotherapy-induced apoptosis, according to Genta. The company last week noted that it is still trying to have the drug cleared for use in Europe for melanoma.

The Scan

Alzheimer's Risk Gene Among Women

CNN reports that researchers have found that variants in MGMT contribute to Alzheimer's disease risk among women but not men.

Still Hanging Around

The Guardian writes that persistent pockets of SARS-CoV-2 in the body could contribute to long COVID.

Through a Little Spit

Enteric viruses like norovirus may also be transmitted through saliva, not just the fecal-oral route, according to New Scientist.

Nature Papers Present Method to Detect Full Transcriptome, Viruses Infecting Asgard Archaea, More

In Nature this week: VASA-seq approach to detect full transcriptome, analysis of viruses infecting Asgard archaea, and more.