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Tekmira, Bristol-Myers Squibb Expand Collaboration

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Tekmira Pharmaceuticals said this week that Bristol-Myers Squibb has decided to expand the companies' ongoing collaboration to include the evaluation of newly developed Tekmira lipid nanoparticles for the delivery of siRNAs to tumors and tissues outside of the liver.

Tekmira said that the two firms are also expanding their target-validation work.

The companies have been collaboration for several years, and last year signed an agreement under which they are using siRNAs loaded in Tekmira's lipid nanoparticles to validate certain cellular targets. (GSN 5/13/2010).

"We are now expanding that work to include further evaluation of Tekmira's proprietary ... technology to identify formulations capable of targeting tumors and certain tissues outside of the liver,” Tekmira President and CEO Mark Murray said in a statement. “The new work also includes additional cellular targets that were beyond the scope of the original agreement.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb is conducting the preclinical work to validate the function of certain genes, sharing the data with Tekmira. Under the terms of the arrangement, the big pharma will have a first right to negotiate a licensing agreement on certain RNAi products developed by Tekmira that evolve from proprietary gene targets it has validated.

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