Quark Pharmaceuticals Signs Collaboration Agreement With University of Michigan for Development of Proprietary SiRNA Compounds for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Quark Expands Hearing Loss Program With Novel SiRNA Approaches To Noise-

Induced Hearing Loss With Its First Drug Candidate, AHLI-11, For The

Prevention Of Chemotherapy-Induced Hearing Loss In Late Pre-IND Stage



    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
 body.
     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
     Forward-looking statement
     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.
     Gavin Samuels
     (646) 502-7488
     GSamuels@quarkpharma.com
 
     The Ruth Group
     Stephanie Carrington / Elizabeth Scott (investors)
     (646) 536-7017 / 7014
     scarrington@theruthgroup.com
     escott@theruthgroup.com
 
     Janine McCargo (media)
     (646) 536-7033
     jmccargo@theruthgroup.com
 
 

SOURCE Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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