Marina Biotech has signed an exclusive license agreement with clinical stage biotech company ProNAi Therapeutics to develop and commercialise DNAi-based therapeutics utilising Marina Biotech’s novel Smarticles liposomal delivery technology.

As per the agreement, Marina Biotech will receive up to $14m for each gene target in total upfront, clinical and commercialisation milestone payments, as well as royalties on sales, with ProNAi having the option to select any number of additional gene targets.

ProNAi will have full responsibility for the development and commercialisation of products arising under the agreement.

Currently, ProNAi is conducting an open-label single arm Phase I dose-escalation study of its first drug candidate from the DNAi drug platform, PNT2258, in patients with advanced solid tumours.

ProNAi plans to begin the next Phase I/II safety and efficacy studies in select cancer patients based upon the safety and dose findings from the Phase I study.

ProNAi Therapeutics president and CEO Charles Bisgaier said the drug delivery technology provides protection for the DNAi oligonucleotide during systemic administration with good circulation times and extrahepatic tumour exposure.

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"ProNAi is now positioned to advance additional cancer therapies from its pre-clinical leads targeting other oncogenes such as c-myc and k-ras, while also exploring other disease targets in areas such as inflammation and genetics diseases," Bisgaier added.
Marina Biotech president and CEO Michael French said they have now been able to establish two license agreements broadening the application of the Smarticles technology to the systemic administration of both single and double-stranded oligonucleotide therapeutics.

"We look forward to the rapid advancement of ProNAi Therapeutics’ clinical pipeline and the opportunity to bring novel therapeutics to patients in need," Bisgaier added.

Marina Biotech is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialisation of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics utilising multiple mechanisms of action including RNA interference (RNAi) and messenger RNA translational blocking.