09 Jan Mirus Bio, Pfizer enter multimillion-dollar research agreement
Madison, Wis. – In an effort to address the lack of an effective delivery method in the emerging field of RNA interference, Mirus Bio Corp. has entered into a two-year, multimillion dollar agreement with Pfizer, Inc. to develop gene silencing methods in animal models.
Russell Smestad, president of Mirus Bio, said the lack of effective delivery methods has been an Achilles’ heel that has impeded progress in RNA interference, a cellular process that regulates gene expression and protein production in normal cells.
“It’s a milestone event for us,” Smestad said. “It’s the first such agreement in the RNA interference field.”
The studies will use Mirus Bio’s nucleic acid delivery platforms to target and suppress the expression of genes of interest to Pfizer, the biomedial research giant headquartered in New London, Conn. Pfizer, which now spends more than $7 billion annually on global research and development, has hundreds of research projects across oncology, cardiovascular health, infectious disease, and other therapeutic areas.
On the platform
Mirus Bio has developed two distinct platforms for delivering nucleic acid through the bloodstream to surrounding cells and tissues to block the production of disease-causing proteins, a technique used in drug development.
Smestad said the Pfizer agreement will enable Mirus Bio to accelerate the development of its platform technologies for the delivery of nucleic acid. In nucleic acid delivery technology, he said there are a number of things that need to be refined and optimized, and working with Pfizer will enable Mirus to optimize delivery protocols.
One of the company’s platforms, a more rapid method of injecting nucleic acid into targeted cells, recently was patented.
Smedstad said confidentiality provisions in the Pfizer agreement preclude him from identifying the exact value of the contract, but nothing in the agreement prevents Mirus from negotiating with others. “We anticipate leveraging this agreement into future opportunities as well,” he said.
• Mirus Bio awarded patent on RNA delivery
• Mirus granted European patent for gene therapy
• Mirus provides low-cost way to modify genes