Silence Therapeutics plc today announced that the company and Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. have agreed to an expansion of their ongoing small interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery collaboration. Under this collaboration, which was originally entered into in August 2009, the companies are leveraging Silence's proprietary siRNA molecules and multiple lipid delivery and targeting technologies to demonstrate functional delivery of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics to specific disease targets in the body. Under the terms of the expansion, the companies will examine delivery to additional disease targets selected by Dainippon Sumitomo. The financial details of the original collaboration and this extension have not been disclosed.
"We believe that the decision to expand this collaboration less than eight months after its initiation and within three months of the merger between Silence and Intradigm provides clear evidence that both Silence and Dainippon Sumitomo are not only pleased with the progress already achieved through this partnership but also with its future potential," stated Philip Haworth, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Silence Therapeutics. "While we at Silence have long believed in the significant value and potential of our proprietary technologies, it is gratifying to have a partner support our activities with a rapid expansion of this key collaboration."
Several of Silence Therapeutics' proprietary assets are being leveraged as part of this collaboration. These include the company's AtuRNAi, a novel siRNA molecule which is chemically modified to improve stability, reduce manufacturing costs and increase yields, all of which are key considerations in the emerging RNAi therapeutics space. Additionally, a number of the company's proprietary lipid delivery and targeting technologies for siRNAs, including AtuPLEX, are also being used as part of the collaborative research efforts.
The challenges of systemic siRNA delivery are well documented and include numerous biological barriers that limit RNAi therapeutics' ability to reach targets safely and effectively. Successfully solving this delivery problem and enabling siRNA molecules to safely and effectively reach various tissue sites within the body is essential to realizing the vast therapeutic potential of RNAi.
Silence Therapeutics has been advised by Summit Pharmaceuticals International which represents and markets the technologies, products and expertise of Silence Therapeutics in Japan.