Mirus Bio Corporation Enters Into Agreement With Pfizer Inc. to Evaluate RNAi Delivery Technology

Jan 09, 2007, 00:00 ET from Mirus Bio Corporation

    MADISON, Wis., Jan. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Mirus Bio Corporation announced
 today it has entered into a two year, multimillion dollar agreement with
 Pfizer Inc. to investigate and optimize gene silencing methods in animal
 models. The studies will utilize Mirus Bio's nucleic acid delivery
 platforms to target and suppress the expression of genes of interest to
     "The lack of effective delivery methods has been the Achilles' heel
 impeding progress in the emerging field of RNA interference," commented
 Russell Smestad, Mirus Bio's President. "We are excited that this agreement
 will enable us to accelerate the development of our platform technologies.
 This agreement further enhances our position as one of the industry leaders
 in providing enabling nucleic acid delivery solutions."
     Mirus Bio has two distinct delivery platforms. The first is
 "hydrodynamic intravascular injection," a method to deliver nucleic acids
 through the bloodstream to surrounding cells and tissues. Normally,
 standard injection of DNA, RNA or viral vectors into a vein or artery would
 result in the nucleic acids being retained within the blood vessel until
 degraded and filtered out of the body. However, by temporarily restricting
 the blood flow and rapidly injecting the nucleic acids within a large
 volume of a saline solution, the blood vessel wall becomes more permeable
 and allows the vectors to migrate into the surrounding tissue cells. This
 enables regional delivery throughout an entire limb or other targeted
 tissue rather than being localized to a single point of injection as
 happens with a needle and syringe. Hydrodynamic protocols have enabled high
 levels of gene silencing in multiple tissues.
     The second delivery platform involves formulating small interfering RNA
 (siRNA) into nanoparticles. Unlike the hydrodynamic platform, these
 nanoparticles are delivered systemically via standard intravenous
 injection. The novel chemistry of these nanoparticles targets delivery of
 the siRNA to specific tissues and cells, achieves very high levels of
 cellular uptake, and results in highly effective silencing of targeted
 genes. Initial manuscripts outlining the details of this technology will be
 published in coming months.
     RNA interference (RNAi) is a natural cellular process wherein short
 nucleic acids known as small interfering RNA (siRNA) regulate gene
 expression and protein production. In normal cells, DNA is copied to
 messenger RNA (mRNA) which directs the synthesis of protein. The RNAi gene
 silencing process involves the introduction of double-stranded RNA
 molecules into a cell, after which a multistep cellular process creates
 single-stranded siRNA molecules that interfere with the translation of mRNA
 into the protein it encodes. Blocking production of disease causing
 proteins in this manner represents a fundamentally new approach for
 innovative medicines. The significance of this biological pathway was
 highlighted in October when the two researchers credited with discovering
 this powerful biological phenomenon were jointly awarded "The Nobel Prize
 in Physiology or Medicine for 2006."
     About Mirus Bio Corporation:
     Mirus Bio Corporation is a leader in the emerging fields of gene
 therapy and RNA interference, based upon its expertise in nucleic acid
 chemistry and delivery. The company currently markets state-of-the-art DNA
 and siRNA transfection and labeling products to researchers worldwide. In
 addition, the company is developing novel human therapeutics enabled by its
 proprietary Pathway IV(TM) delivery platform. The company's lead
 therapeutic is a treatment for Muscular Dystrophy, which is being developed
 collaboratively with Transgene S.A. of Strasbourg, France.
     For more information about Mirus Bio go to: http://www.mirusbio.com .

SOURCE Mirus Bio Corporation