BOULDER, Colo., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sirna Therapeutics, Inc.
(Nasdaq: RNAI) today announced that the Company is moving forward with the
development of an RNA interference (RNAI)-based treatment for Huntington's
Disease. Huntington's Disease (HD) is a devastating, degenerative brain
disorder for which there is, at present, no effective treatment or cure. HD
affects more than 30,000 people in the United States, with another 200,000 at
risk of inheriting the deadly gene. Early in 2005, Sirna expects to select
investigational compounds for preclinical development based on the
groundbreaking work of the Company's research collaborator, Dr. Beverly
Davidson at the University of Iowa. Sirna also announced today its
collaboration with the Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) and is
looking forward to working with the Society's network of clinical
Howard Robin, Sirna's President and Chief Executive Officer, commented,
"We are extremely proud of our new relationship with the Huntington's Disease
Society of America. The Society's efforts have been instrumental in bringing
hope to patients and their families affected by this devastating disease.
Sirna's researchers and scientists are dedicated to suppressing the expression
of the gene that causes Huntington's Disease."
Dr. Roberto Guerciolini, Senior Vice President of Development and Chief
Medical Officer at Sirna Therapeutics, commented, "For many neurodegenerative
diseases, including Huntington's Disease, treatments are either non-existent
or can do little to stop or reverse the progression of the disease. Together
with our collaborator, Dr. Beverly Davidson, Sirna is leading the effort to
develop an effective treatment for Huntington's Disease."
Sirna's collaborator, Dr. Beverly Davidson, recently demonstrated that a
short interfering RNA (siRNA) efficiently inhibited gene expression in an
animal model of a disease mimicking spinocerebellar ataxia 1 (SCA1), a member
of a class of inherited human neurodegenerative diseases that includes
Huntington's Disease. The study appeared in the August issue of Nature
Medicine (Volume 10, pp 816, August 2004). The Company has exclusively
licensed key patents from the University of Iowa Research Foundation for the
use of RNAi technology in the field of neurological diseases, including those
relating to SCA1, Huntington's, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's Diseases. These
patents complement Sirna's intellectual property in Huntington's Disease and
further strengthen the Company's broad intellectual property portfolio
covering the seminal RNAi technology, chemical modifications, therapeutic
targets, delivery and manufacturing of siRNAs.
About RNA Interference
Sirna Therapeutics is using its proprietary technology and expertise in
nucleic acids to develop a new class of nucleic acid-based therapeutics
involving RNA interference. RNAi is a mechanism used by cells to regulate the
expression of genes and replication of viruses. The RNA interference
mechanism uses short interfering RNA (siRNA) to induce the destruction of
target RNA using naturally occurring cellular protein machinery. Harnessing
the natural phenomenon of RNAi holds potential for the development of a new
class of drugs with specificity towards a wide range of diseases that result
from undesirable protein production or viral replication.
About the Huntington's Disease Society of America
The Huntington's Disease Society of America (HDSA) is a voluntary health
agency with chapters, affiliates, support groups and Centers of Excellence
throughout the United States. The Huntington's Disease Society of America
(HDSA) funds and supports research to find a cure, helps people and families
affected by the disease, and educates the public and healthcare professionals
about this genetic disease.
The organization was founded by the late Marjorie Guthrie, widow of famous
folk singer Woody Guthrie after he died of complications related to
Huntington's Disease in 1967.
About Sirna Therapeutics
Sirna Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing
RNAi-based therapies for serious diseases and conditions, including
age-related macular degeneration (AMD), hepatitis, oncology, and diseases of
the central nervous system. Sirna has filed an IND for its most advanced
compound, Sirna-027, a chemically modified siRNA targeting the clinically
validated vascular endothelial growth factor pathway to treat AMD. The
Company has strategic partnerships with Eli Lilly and Archemix and a leading
intellectual property portfolio in RNAi. More information on Sirna
Therapeutics is available on the Company's web site at http://www.sirna.com.
Statements in this press release which are not strictly historical are
"forward-looking" statements which should be considered as subject to many
risks and uncertainties. For example, Sirna's ability to select promising
investigational compounds for preclinical development and its ability to
achieve any progress in suppressing gene expression for Huntington's Disease,
are subject to considerable scientific uncertainty. Other risks and
uncertainties include Sirna's early stage of development and short operating
history, whether Sirna can achieve and maintain profitability, whether Sirna
can obtain and protect patents, the risk of third-party patent infringement
claims, whether Sirna can engage collaborators and obtain regulatory approval
for products, Sirna's concentration of stock ownership, and availability of
materials for product manufacturing. These and additional risk factors are
identified in Sirna's Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including
the Forms 10-K and 10-Q and in other SEC filings. Sirna undertakes no
obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements in order to
reflect events or circumstances that may arise after the date of this release.
Sirna Contact: Martin E. Schmieg, Senior Vice President and Chief
Financial Officer, Sirna Therapeutics, Inc., 303-449-6500
Media Contact: Justin Jackson, firstname.lastname@example.org; Investor Contact:
Aline Schimmel, email@example.com, Burns McClellan, Inc., 212-213-0006
HDSA contact: Deb Lovecky, 212-242-1968 extension 28, Dlovecky@hdsa.org.
SOURCE Sirna Therapeutics, Inc.