miRNA mimic

Title: Gene Silencing
Patent Number: 8,097,710
Filed: March 22, 2004
Lead Inventor: David Baulcombe, Plant Bioscience

RXi and Miragen used the technology to create an miRNA mimic capable of down-regulating a reporter gene whose expression is controlled by the microRNA in cell culture model systems.

Merck is primarily focused on miRNA mimics since the molecules are "somewhat analogous" to siRNAs, which enables the company to piggyback on the know-how of its RNAi subsidiary Sirna Therapeutics.

The microRNA is a potential target for immuno-inflammatory disorders and part of a lead program in the company's collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, Regulus said.

While RXi continues to bill itself as an RNAi drug developer, a company official indicated this week that the firm may expand its focus into the miRNA field as it works to meet its goal of defining its areas of therapeutic interest by the end of the second quarter.

The New York Times and ProPublica look into the close relationship between a startup and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Yahoo News reports millions of dollars are being transferred from NIH, CDC, and other programs to pay for the housing of detained undocumented immigrant children.

In Science this week: in vitro generation of human reproductive cells, and more.

Researchers gave a handful of octopuses MDMA to find that they too act more social on the drug, Gizmodo reports.