Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN) ("Silence"), a leading global RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics company, and InteRNA Technologies B.V. ("InteRNA"), a biopharmaceutical company developing pathway targeted microRNA ("miRNA")-based therapeutics for cancer, today announce that they have entered into an agreement to develop novel microRNA therapeutics for the treatment of cancer. This will combine the delivery capabilities of Silence's proprietary AtuPLEX™ delivery system with InteRNA's novel microRNAs.
Silence is currently conducting a Phase I trial with Atu027 in patients with advanced solid cancer. Atu027 is based on Silence´ proprietary AtuPLEX™ delivery technology. Interim data analysis from this trial were presented at the 2011 American Society of Clinical Oncology conference and showed that Atu027 is safe and well tolerated and provided broad support for AtuPLEX™ as an effective siRNA delivery technology with the potential to overcome the delivery challenges currently associated with RNAi therapeutics.
Under the terms of the agreement, InteRNA will provide Silence with specific miRNA sequences, which Silence will formulate with its AtuPLEX™ delivery system in order to develop multiple candidate drugs. Silence and InteRNA will undertake in vitro and in vivo studies of the candidate drugs developed under the agreement and select lead candidates for further evaluation. Silence is eligible to receive upfront fees as well as staged research payments. Further financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Thomas Christély, Chief Operating Officer of Silence Therapeutics, said: "We are pleased to be collaborating with InteRNA, and it is in our interest to broaden the potential value of our AtuPLEX™ delivery system as a vehicle to modify gene expression using different oligonucleotide classes, alongside our continuing focus on our internal siRNA therapies. Functional delivery into target cells is one of the greatest challenges facing most nucleic acid therapies. Silence remains committed to the development of its AtuPLEX™ and other delivery systems including DACC and DBTC as it seeks to overcome these challenges."
Dr Roel Schaapveld, Chief Executive Officer of InteRNA Technologies, said: "We are very excited about this collaboration with Silence. Working with AtuPLEX™ and the experienced team at Silence fits perfectly in our strategy to address the delivery challenge of RNA based therapeutics upon systemic administration. AtuPLEX™ may significantly contribute to the efficacy of several miRNA drug candidates in our pipeline that have shown to reduce tumor growth in vivo and as such supports further development of these drug candidates towards the clinic."
SOURCE Silence Therapeutics Plc