FREMONT, Calif., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,
a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and
developing novel RNA interference-based therapeutics, announced today that
it has signed a collaboration agreement with the University of Michigan
Kresge Hearing Research Institute (http://www.khri.med.umich.edu/) to begin
pre-clinical studies of several new siRNA compounds for the treatment of
acute hearing loss associated with acoustic (noise-induced) trauma through
the inhibition of Quark's novel targets. These pre-clinical studies will be
led by Professor Yehoash Raphael, Ph.D., Department of Otolaryngology at
the University of Michigan.
These studies will target several different siRNA-based drug candidates
that work by way of inhibition of Quark's proprietary target genes for the
prevention and treatment of acoustic trauma-induced acute hearing loss. The
multi-stage, animal model study will assess the ability to deliver these
siRNA compounds to relevant cochlear cells in the inner ear. The efficacy
of the selected siRNA compounds before and after acoustic trauma, the
residence time of siRNA in the inner ear cells, and the duration of the
therapeutic siRNA effect will also be primary focuses of the studies.
Daniel Zurr, CEO of Quark Pharmaceuticals, commented, "The
establishment of this significant research collaboration with the
University of Michigan enables us to expand our research program aimed at
preventing and treating hearing loss. With an estimated 28 million
Americans having some degree of hearing loss, this is a significant medical
issue in the United States and throughout the world. Moreover, hearing loss
is an under-diagnosed and under- treated health issue. Quark continues to
draw on its expertise in the development of siRNA-based therapeutics and we
continue to broaden our pipeline portfolio to include new drug candidates
that act by way of inhibiting our novel targets for this disease and an
increasing number of indications with unmet medical needs."
Quark Pharmaceuticals expects to file an IND before the end of 2007 for
its first hearing loss drug candidate, AHLi-11, for the prevention of
cisplatin (a chemotherapeutic agent) induced ototoxic hearing loss.
About Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical
company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics based on
its proprietary gene discovery science and technology, with an initial
focus on drug candidates that work through the natural mechanism in the
cell known as RNA interference, or RNAi, for the treatment of diseases
associated with oxidative stress. Quark believes that its proprietary
target gene discovery platform, BiFAR(TM), combined with its ability to
design and successfully deliver synthetic molecules of the new class of
RNAi therapeutics known as small-interfering RNA, or siRNA, to specific
organs in the body, enables the Company to rapidly develop drug candidates.
Quark has two internally discovered and developed lead product candidates:
RTP801i-14 in phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of wet age-related
macular degeneration, and AKIi-5 for the prevention of acute renal failure.
The Company has licensed RTP801i-14 to Pfizer on an exclusive worldwide
basis. Quark has, in addition, a product candidate portfolio of RNAi
therapeutics based on novel targets and therapeutic concepts discovered
using BiFAR(TM) and designed for the treatment of oxidative stress
associated diseases of the inner ear, lungs and additional organs of the
Quark is headquartered in Fremont, California and operates research and
development facilities in Boulder, Colorado and Ness-Ziona, Israel.
Additional information is available at www.quarkpharma.com
Various statements in this release concerning the Company's future
expectations, plans and prospects, including its intention to publicly
offer shares of its common stock, constitute forward-looking statements for
the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities
Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from
those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various
important factors, including risks related to fluctuations in our stock
price, as well as those risks more fully discussed in the "Certain Factors
That May Affect Future Results" section of the Company's most recent
Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q on file with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. In addition, any forward- looking statements represent the
Company's views only as of today and should not be relied upon as
representing its views as of any subsequent date. The Company does not
assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
The Ruth Group
Stephanie Carrington / Elizabeth Scott (investors)
(646) 536-7017 / 7014
Janine McCargo (media)
SOURCE Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.