Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation announced today that studies conducted by Tekmira and Johnson + Johnson Pharmaceutical Research + Development, Division of Janssen Pharmaceutica, N.V., have shown that novel small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules enabled by Tekmira's proprietary SNALP technology significantly reduce fat storage in the liver.
T he data will be presented today at Cambridge Healthtech Institute's RNAi for Therapeutics Conference being held in Boston, MA.
J&JPRD will present data using siRNA enabled by SNALP to switch off genes that encode key enzymes, called diacylglycerol acyltransferases (DGAT), in triglyceride synthesis. These data demonstrate the capability of SNALP-enabled siRNA to reduce DGAT mRNA levels by greater than 90%, which results in a reduction in fat storage in the livers of animals fed a high-fat diet. The reduction lasted for up to two weeks after a single injection, and there was no sign of toxicity or inflammation in the livers of these animals after two or four weeks of treatment.
Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira's President and CEO, said, "We are encouraged by the data demonstrating reduced liver fat storage. It continues to expand the therapeutic potential of RNAi and SNALP and suggests the targets evaluated may have the potential to treat metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and obesity."
Tekmira and its research collaborators are developing drugs based on RNA interference (RNAi), which has the potential to treat a wide range of human diseases by switching-off disease-causing genes. The RNAi-based drugs consist of therapeutic agents, siRNA, which are delivered in stable nucleic acid-lipid particles (SNALP), Tekmira's proprietary delivery technology.