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Life Technologies improves siRNA technology 100-fold

By Natalie Morrison , 19-Jul-2011
Last updated on 19-Jul-2011 at 12:56 GMT

Life Technologies has developed new drug delivery technology for therapeutic applications that is 100 times more potent than previous formulations.

The California-based biotech firm’s newest development comes after last year’s launch of Invivofectamine 2.0; a lipid-based small interfering RNA (siRNA) delivery technology used to knock down up to four genes for extended periods with a single application.

It is this new lipid technology that allowed the team, led by Keith Farnsworth, to develop new reagents to work with their siRNA technology.

The effects drastically improve potency in vivo to such an extent that a single dose of 12.5ug siRNA per kilogram can achieve 50 percent knock down of a target gene.

The technology is available for licensing as part of the company’s new out-licensing program.

Dangerous grounds

The potential of siRNA technology has always generated a great deal of interest within the biotech community.

However the method is still largely underused because of a lack of understanding about its different effectiveness in different cell types – some reacting with a large knock down, whilst others react with no knock down at all.

There have also been issues in genes with incomplete complementarity, where the siRNA can act as a microRNA (miRNA) therefore unintentionally producing high toxicity levels.

However Farnsworth has said Life Technologies’ new development is the industry’s best of providing a platform to conquer these issues.

“Historically, delivery of siRNA has been problematic due to the high risk of toxicity and hampered efficiency.

“Life Technologies' new formulations provide the pharmaceutical and biotech industries a viable platform to help develop siRNA drugs that overcome these challenges.”

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