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SomaGenics' sshRNA Technology Demonstrates Efficacy of RNAi Against Hepatitis C Virus
Date:9/20/2011

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., Sept. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- SomaGenics, Inc., a biotechnology company specializing in RNA-based technologies, presented exciting data on the efficacy of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics against Hepatitis C virus (HCV) based on the company's sshRNA platform.

SomaGenics, along with its collaborators at Tekmira Pharmaceuticals and Roche, presented the results in a poster entitled "Synthetic Short shRNAs are Potent Inhibitors of Hepatitis C Virus in HCV-Infected Chimeric Mice" at the 7th Annual Meeting of the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society held September 8-10, 2011 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"The demonstration of a strong antiviral effect in the chimeric human liver mouse model further reinforces our confidence in the therapeutic potential of our sshRNA platform. We are quite excited about the performance of SomaGenics' synthetic sshRNAs formulated with Tekmira's lipid nanoparticles (LNPs), which demonstrated reduction of circulating HCV load by more than two orders of magnitude. The results presented affirm the advantages of our approach to combine multiple sshRNA targeting otherwise 'undruggable' viral targets," said Dr. Brian Johnston, Chief Executive of SomaGenics.

Some conclusions of the scientific presentation:

  • This represents the first demonstration of in vivo efficacy of RNAi against HCV infection;
  • LNP-formulated sshRNAs were efficiently taken up by human liver cells in a chimeric mouse model;
  • Significant HCV reduction (2.0 log10 viral load reduction) was achieved with a single i.v. dose;
  • Viral load was still depressed by 1.0 log10 three weeks after dosing;
  • Maximal anti-viral effect was observed with two doses of a cocktail of two sshRNAs targeting separate sites on the HCV genome, where a total viral load reduction of 2.5 log10 was achieved.
  • The LNP-formulated sshRNAs were well tolerated with no evidence of liver toxicity; an
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SOURCE SomaGenics, Inc.
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