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PCI Biotech-led Consortium Awarded EUR1.1 m Eurostars Grant for siRNA
Date:3/23/2009

OSLO, March 23 /PRNewswire/ -- PCI Biotech Holding ASA, the Norwegian drug delivery company, and siRNAsense AS, the Norwegian drug development company, today announced that a PCI Biotech-led consortium focused on effective siRNA cancer drug delivery has been ranked 3rd out of more than 300 European projects and will receive EUR 1.1 million in funding from the EU Eurostars Programme.

The consortium comprises three companies PCI Biotech, SpectraCure and siRNAsense and the project is entitled "Photochemical Internalisation for delivery of short interfering RNA (siRNA) - towards safe and specific cancer therapy". Competition was extremely fierce. All projects were assessed by carefully selected independent technical experts and an independent evaluation panel. They were then ranked across all industries based on an assessment of the project, technology and innovation, and market and competitiveness factors. The PCI Biotech-led project was ranked as number three of the 317 submitted applications. The three partners are contributing equally to the consortium.

The proposal came about because PCI Biotech, SpectraCure and siRNAsense were already aiming to develop their complementary technologies to fulfil unmet medical need in several disease areas, with cancer being a current focus area. The Eurostars' funding will now be used to develop a method for efficient light-directed delivery of siRNA to a variety of tumours. SiRNAs are compounds regulating gene expression in cells, with significant therapeutic and commercial potential; the realization of which urgently requires effective technologies for delivering siRNA into cells in the body.

Dr. Per Walday, CEO of PCI Biotech, comments: "The funding from Eurostars is an important milestone for PCI Biotech. The support provides financial backing in a critical phase of the development of the PCI technology, as well as an international collaborative opportunity between companies with innovative complementary technologies. We are very pleased that independent European experts share our view that photochemical internalisation has the potential to play an important role in future medical treatments based on siRNA."

Dr Hanne Mette Kristensen, CEO of siRNAsense adds: "This collaboration project will allow us to continue developing exciting new drug candidates for cancer indications. RNA interference is a new and very promising field, where delivery of the drug represents a big challenge. This funding will enable us to continue our investigation of effective ways of delivering siRNA based drugs to solid tumours. Combining PCI Biotech's technology with SpectraCure's fibreoptic dosimetry system will make it possible to enable homogeneous penetration throughout the various tumour layers."

    Corporate Inquiries:

    PCI Biotech ASA
    Per Walday
    tel: +47(0)23-25-4000
    Email: per.walday@pcibiotech.no

    siRNAsense AS
    Hanne Mette D. Kristensen
    tel: +47(0)22-95-8192
    E-mail: hannemette@sirnasense.com


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SOURCE PCI Biotech Holding ASA
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