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Silence Therapeutics to Receive $1.9m Milestone Payment as Pfizer and Quark Commence Phase II Trial
Date:7/30/2008

LONDON, July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Silence Therapeutics plc (AIM: SLN), a leading European RNAi focused biotechnology company, today announces that its partner, Quark Pharmaceuticals Inc. ("Quark") together with Pfizer, has commenced a Phase II clinical trial with RTP-801i-14 (PF-4523655), a small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutic product based on Silence's AtuRNAi technology. Its initiation triggers a $1.9 million milestone payment to Silence from Quark.

The study is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of the candidate in improving visual acuity compared to laser treatment in patients with diabetic macular oedema. The Phase II study is being funded and is conducted by Pfizer Inc. in collaboration with Quark. Pfizer in-licensed RTP-801i-14 from Quark in a deal announced in 2006 for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other ophthalmologic and non-ophthalmologic indications.

Diabetic macular oedema results in the macula swelling and surrounding blood vessels dilating to compensate for this. The dilated vessels are generally leaky, resulting in fluid build-up in the macula, which in turn causes the macula to swell and cease to function. Diabetic macular oedema is the most common cause of visual impairment in patients with non-proliferative retinopathy. Approximately 14% of people with diabetes have diabetic macular oedema with prevalence increasing to 29% for people with diabetes who use insulin for more than 20 years.

In December 2004 Quark and Silence Therapeutics AG signed a Collaboration Agreement on the development of siRNA molecules for the gene target RTP-801, which resulted in RTP801i-14, a 19 base pairs long blunt-ended AtuRNAi (siRNA) molecule and also provided Quark with a license to AtuRNAi technology. In addition a second agreement (Option and License Agreement) was signed in April 2005, and expanded in 2007, to provide Quark with options for non-exclusive licenses to develop additional molecules agains
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SOURCE Silence Therapeutics plc
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