Marina Biotech and University of Helsinki Expand Collaboration to Discover Novel Targeting Peptides With Marina's Proprietary Trp Cage Library
Marina Biotech, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNAD) (formerly known as MDRNA, Inc.) and Dr. Pirjo Laakkonen at the University of Helsinki Biomedicum in Finland today announced the extension of their collaboration to identify novel peptides with preferential homing-like properties which allow the peptides to target specific tissues, including tumors. The collaboration will utilize Marina's patented Trp Cage phage display library and Dr. Laakkonen's unique expertise with phage display libraries and experience in the evaluation of peptides for preferential homing. Such peptides are expected to be used in conjunction with Marina's delivery systems, including DiLA(2)-based liposomes and peptide-based nanoparticles, to further enhance the uptake of Marina's proprietary UsiRNAs in targeted tissues and improve overall performance of RNAi therapeutic drug candidates.
This agreement expands on a successful collaboration between Marina and Dr. Laakkonen's lab in which screening in the Trp Cage library using in vitro/in vivo "biopanning" methods has already identified candidate peptides with high specificity for homing to prostate cancer cells. The next phase of the collaboration involves Marina's team of peptide chemists, formulators, and biologists evaluating these candidates in combination with Marina's delivery systems in rodent disease models.
"We are extremely pleased to extend our agreement with Dr. Laakkonen and the Biomedicum," said Dr. Barry Polisky, Chief Scientific Officer of Marina. "There are very few people with the expertise and resources to perform this kind of science. We value Marina's relationship with the Biomedicum and the results generated thus far with the Trp Cage library. We look forward to learning more in the coming months about the peptides Dr. Laakkonen has isolated. The expansion of this collaboration provides the framework to pursue additional targeting peptides."
About Marina's Trp Cage Phage Display Technology
Marina, in collaboration with the University of Helsinki Biomedicum, is currently biopanning with its patented phage display library to identify peptides for targeted delivery, cellular uptake and endosomal release of siRNA. The Company recently announced the issuance of U.S. patent number 7,704,953 covering methods for the delivery of a broad array of compounds with pharmacological (biological) activity, including siRNAs, using proprietary targeting peptides that have preferential binding affinity for lung tissue, and the allowance of U.S. application number 12/701,397 that covers methods for the delivery of a broad array of compounds with pharmacological (biological) activity, including siRNAs, using proprietary targeting peptides that have preferential binding affinity for to cells involved in hepatocellular carcinoma. The Trp Cage phage display library (J Biol Chem. 2007 282(13):9813) is itself the subject of U.S. patent 7,329,725. The Trp Cage motif is highly structured allowing for the identification of peptides with high binding affinity for specific cell or tissue types, and avoids the limitations and weak binding often associated with linear peptide libraries. This technology is directly applicable to the Company's DiLA(2) delivery technology as peptides are readily conjugated to the amino acid scaffold of a DiLA(2) molecule. Peptides capable of directed delivery are expected to further improve the delivery efficiency of UsiRNAs, which have demonstrated significant knockdown of target genes in mouse models of liver and bladder cancer, and in non-human primates.
About Marina Biotech, Inc.
Marina Biotech (formerly known as MDRNA, Inc.) is a biotechnology company, focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutic products based on RNA interference (RNAi). Marina's pipeline currently includes a clinical program in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (a precancerous syndrome) and two preclinical programs -- in hepatocellular carcinoma and bladder cancer. Marina's goal is to improve human health through the development of RNAi-based compounds and drug delivery technologies that together provide superior therapeutic options for patients. Additional information about Marina Biotech is available at http://www.marinabio.com.
Statements made in this news release may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of Federal Securities laws that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and involve factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) the ability of Marina Biotech to obtain additional funding; (ii) the ability of Marina Biotech to attract and/or maintain manufacturing, research, development and commercialization partners; (iii) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to successfully complete product research and development, including preclinical and clinical studies and commercialization; (iv) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to obtain required governmental approvals; and (v) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to develop and commercialize products that can compete favorably with those of competitors. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested in any forward-looking statements are contained in Marina Biotech's most recent periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under MDRNA Inc. Marina Biotech assumes no obligation to update and supplement forward-looking statements because of subsequent events.
For more information:
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e-mail: pirjo.laakkonen (at) helsinki.fi