RNAi has been shown to effectively interfere with the expression of targeted disease-associated genes with specificity and potency, and was co-discovered by 2006 Nobel Laureate Craig C. Mello, Ph.D., Co-founder of RXi and Chairman of RXi's Scientific Advisory Board. The published nanoparticle-based delivery agent enables the systemic delivery of RNAi agents in low clinically relevant doses in an animal model.
In January 2007, RXi announced that it had entered into significant agreements with UMMS to license RNAi intellectual property for all therapeutic applications. These agreements include an exclusive therapeutic license with rights to sublicense for the breakthrough nanotransporter technology.
"Delivery of intact RNAi compounds to target tissues is critical for the development of RNAi therapeutics," said Tod Woolf, Ph.D., President of RXi. "Our exclusive therapeutic rights to Dr. Rana's RNAi nanotransporter technology enhances what we believe to be RXi's competitive advantage in developing RNAi therapeutics."
Steven A. Kriegsman, President and CEO of CytRx, added, "RNAi therapeutics holds tremendous promise as cures for diseases caused by proteins that cannot be targeted by conventional drugs. We are pleased that Dr. Rana and his colleagues are receiving recognition from the scientific community in developing a breakthrough that could expedite the development of important therapeutic treatments."
About CytRx Corporation
Los Angeles, California-based CytRx Corporation is a biopharmaceutical research and development company engaged in the development of high-value human therapeutics. The Company owns three clinical-stage compounds based on its small molecule "molecular chaperone" co-induction technology. In September 2006 CytRx announced that arimoclomol was shown to be safe and well tolerated at all three doses tested in its Phase IIa clinical trial in patients with ALS. The Company expects to announce results of its completed open-label extension trial in the second quarter of 2007. The Company plans to enter a Phase IIb clinical trial with arimoclomol in ALS in the second half of 2007, subject to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) acceptance. The FDA has granted Fast Track designation and Orphan Drug status to arimoclomol for the treatment of ALS and has also been granted orphan medicinal product status for the treatment of ALS by the European Commission. The Company is also developing a potential Phase II clinical plan for arimoclomol in stroke recovery. For more information on the Company, visit www.cytrx.com.
About RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Worcester, Massachusetts-based RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a majority-owned subsidiary of CytRx Corporation, is a biopharmaceutical research and development company that focuses on developing RNAi-based therapeutics for the treatment of human disease. RXi's initial focus is on neurodegenerative diseases, oncology, type 2 diabetes and obesity. RXi has licenses to a diverse series of early patents and patent applications that were filed from 1998 to 2006 in the areas of RNAi target sequences, RNAi chemistry and RNAi delivery. The company was founded by CytRx and RNAi pioneers Craig Mello, Ph.D., 2006 Nobel Laureate for discovering RNAi and inventing RNAi therapeutics, Tariq M. Rana, Ph.D., inventor of fundamental technology for stabilizing RNAi and of RNAi nanotransporters, Greg Hannon, Ph.D., discoverer of RNAi mechanism (RISC) and short hairpin RNAi (shRNAi), and Michael Czech, Ph.D., a leader in the application of RNAi to diabetes and obesity. RXi's CEO, Tod Woolf, Ph.D., previously co-invented and commercialized STEALTH(TM) RNAi, one of the most widely used second-generation RNAi research products.
About the University of Massachusetts Medical School
The University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, has built a reputation as a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. The Medical School attracts more than $176 million in research funding annually, 80 percent of which comes from federal funding sources. The work of UMMS researcher Craig Mello, PhD, an investigator of the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), and his colleague Andrew Fire, PhD, then of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, toward the discovery of RNA interference was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, hailed as the "Breakthrough of the Year" in 2002 by Science magazine and has spawned a new and promising field of research, the global impact of which may prove astounding. UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care, the largest health care provider in Central Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.umassmed.edu.
This press release may contain forward-looking statements (statements as to matters other than historical facts) as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Such statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from the events or results described in the forward looking statements. Examples of such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, RXi's need to raise significant capital to fund operations and development of its potential products, the need to establish management and other infrastructure for the RXi subsidiary, intense competition with other companies focused on RNAi and other larger companies with RNAi programs and with other existing or new therapeutic modalities, the early stage of development of RXi's technology, and the scope, timing and outcome of pre-clinical and clinical testing and regulatory review of RXi's potential products. Additional risks or uncertainties are described in CytRx's most recently filed SEC documents, such as its most recent annual report on Form 10-K, all quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and any current reports on Form 8-K filed since the date of the last Form 10-K. All forward-looking statements are based upon information available to CytRx on the date the statements are first published. CytRx undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward- looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
Dan Schustack, 212-732-4300