Sirna Therapeutics and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have initiated programs in asthma and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) as part of an exclusive, multi-year collaboration in respiratory diseases. The companies also plan to pursue RNAi-based therapeutics against chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and allergic rhinitis. Sirna will provide GSK with optimized and formulated siRNAs against targets for these diseases and GSK will assume all responsibility for the further preclinical and clinical development of compounds that emerge from these programs.
RNA interference (RNAi) is a natural, selective process for turning off genes. Sirna designs and develops short interfering RNA (siRNA) compounds which down regulate the expression of critical proteins responsible for viral replication and pathogenesis. GSK discovers and develops treatments for respiratory diseases and has expertise in inhaled and intranasal drug delivery technologies.
"Sirna has demonstrated the ability to develop chemically modified and optimized siRNA compounds and then deliver those compounds effectively into the lung with our nanoparticle formulations," stated Barry Polisky, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Sirna. "Further, we have demonstrated that our proprietary approach to targeting the conserved region of a viral genome has resulted in significant viral knockdown in a non-human primate model. With these encouraging results and together with the combined efforts of Sirna and GSK scientific teams, we expect to expedite the development of novel RNAi-based therapies—those efforts initially focused on asthma and RSV."