Nitto Denko Corporation, Japan's leading diversified materials manufacturer and Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a world leader in the discovery and development of RNAi-based therapeutics, today announced the initiation of a collaboration and license agreement for the development of siRNA therapeutics for the treatment of fibrotic diseases.
The collaboration is designed to develop siRNA drugs using Quark's RNAi technologies and novel structures providing freedom to operate in the siRNA intellectual property space and Nitto Denko's drug delivery technologies for novel therapeutic concepts, currently owned by Nitto Denko. This refers to the concepts developed in a groundbreaking research by Prof. Yoshiro Niitsu of Sapporo Medical University, School of Medicine, Sapporo, as published in Nature Biotechnology Vol. 26 Issue 4 Pg. 431-42 (Apr 2008).
The collaboration will have an initial budget of double-digit million US dollars to achieve the first IND at the US FDA by early 2012.
"We are very pleased to collaborate with Nitto Denko in developing siRNA drugs. This collaboration is a perfect marriage between the core competencies of the two companies; we shall be using our technologies, intellectual property and capabilities to quickly bring drug candidates to clinical stage and Nitto will provide its delivery technologies and therapeutic strategy as well as their world class capabilities in oligonucleotide production," said Daniel Zurr, Ph.D., Quark's CEO.
Mr. Kageshi Maruyama, Nitto Denko's Officer, commented: "We are delighted to initiate this siRNA program. We believe siRNA is going to make a very important impact to the field of pharmaceuticals discovery and development. With its production facilities and extensive research, Nitto Denko is geared to have a very active participation in this market. We are pleased to work with Quark, we selected Quark due to the superior characteristics of its siRNA structure and chemical modifications, distinguished for the fact that have caused no immune response and look forward to utilizing this technology to create innovative medicines."
"I am very confident that siRNA drugs directed simultaneously to one or more specific target genes are the appropriate approach for therapies for a number of fibrotic diseases that are currently a totally unmet medical need," commented Prof. Niitsu. "Our research has demonstrated that the adequate siRNA, appropriately delivered to the liver caused regression of liver fibrosis and significantly prolonged survival time in siRNA treated animals. It is very likely that this approach is suitable to fibrotic diseases in other organs as well."
Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.