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Tekmira Expands Pipeline, Extends Cash Runway into 2013

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Tekmira Pharmaceuticals this week announced that it has expanded its pipeline with the addition of an siRNA-based drug candidate for alcohol dependence.

The company separately updated its cash guidance, stating that it has enough funds to carry it into the second half of 2013.

The new drug program focuses on aldehyde dehydrogenase 2, or ALDH2, which the company said is a “key enzyme" in ethanol metabolism.

“Inhibition of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 activity, through the silencing of ALDH2, results in the buildup of acetaldehyde,” Tekmira said. “Elevated levels of acetaldehyde are responsible for the adverse physiological effects that cause individuals to avoid alcohol consumption.”

The firm noted that it is developing its alcohol dependence drug, called TKM-ALDH2, with an exclusive license to Alnylam Pharmaceuticals' RNAi technology against the target.

Meantime, Tekmira has extended its cash runway, in part due to the impact of a recently completed $4.1 million private placement of stock and warrant units.

According to the company, each unit consists of one share and a one half of a one-share-purchase warrant. Each whole warrant entitles the holder to buy a share of Tekmira's common stock for about $2.63.

The company said it ended 2011 with cash and cash equivalents totaling $9.3 million.

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