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Tekmira and Pfizer research collaboration

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer have announced a research collaboration developing gene "silencing" RNA interference therapeutics

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals and Pfizer have announced a new research collaboration developing RNA interference (RNAi), a form of therapeutic that has the potential to treat a broad number of human diseases by "silencing" disease causing genes.

RNAi, the discovery of which was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2006, is a natural gene silencing mechanism used by all cells. When used as a therapeutic however, it requires a delivery technology to work effectively.

The collaboration will see Pfizer make use of Tekmira's stable nucleic acid-lipid particles (SNALP) delivery technology, a form of liquid nanoparticle, to make effective use of their own small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules.

Tekmira will be responsible for preparing the SNALP formulations and Pfizer will evaluate the formulations in preclinical models. Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

Dr Mark J Murray, president and CEO of Tekmira, said "We are pleased to be working with Pfizer, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies and an organisation that has made a commitment to the development of nucleic acid therapeutics. The collaboration combines Tekmira's expertise in the delivery of RNAi therapeutics with Pfizer's research excellence in nucleic acid therapeutics."

Tekmira currently has license or collaborative agreements in place with seven other pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, though this is their first with Pfizer.

17th March 2010

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