Tekmira Pharmaceuticals announced this week that it has signed a deal to help Roche advance its first two RNAi-based therapeutics into clinical testing. Both drugs will use Tekmira's proprietary stable nucleic acid-lipid particle, or SNALP, delivery technology.
Under the terms of the latest agreement, Roche will pay Tekmira up to $18.4 million to support the preclinical development of the two undisclosed drug candidates up until the filing of investigational new drug applications with US regulators. Tekmira may also receive up to $32 million in milestones, as well as royalties on future product sales.
Tekmira said it will develop and manufacture all drug product for preclinical testing, and will manufacture one batch of clinical product for phase I studies.
Additional terms were not disclosed.
"We believe Tekmira's SNALP is the leading lipid nanoparticle delivery technology and we are confident that Tekmira's research and manufacturing capabilities will help us to meet our product development objectives," Lou Renzetti, head of RNA therapeutics at Roche, said in a statement.
As previously reported by RNAi News, Roche expects to move its first RNAi-based drug into clinical testing sometime next year (see RNAi News, 2/14/2008).