MDRNA, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA)
announced today that it has entered into a licensing agreement with Novartis
for MDRNA's liposomal technology platform for siRNA delivery. MDRNA will receive
$7.25 million in upfront fees for the non-exclusive license.
Additionally, the companies have entered into a separate agreement, which provides
Novartis with an exclusive period to negotiate a research and development collaboration
and broader licensing rights related to MDRNA's RNAi drug delivery platform.
Terms of this separate agreement were not disclosed.
"We are pleased to enter into this agreement with Novartis, a global
leader in the field of RNAi-based therapeutics," stated J. Michael French,
President and Chief Executive Officer of MDRNA. "MDRNA's DiLA2 technology
for siRNA delivery is effective and efficient at silencing gene targets in the
liver and jejunum. Further, the in vivo tolerability of the DiLA2 technology
is excellent. We have not observed any delivery related adverse effects in the
liver as measured by typical serum chemistries or any significant increases
in cytokine levels, which are hallmarks of cell damage. We view this license
as yet another important validation of our siRNA technologies and we look forward
to a strong and growing relationship with Novartis."