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Granted patents strengthens Marina Biotech's peptide drug delivery platform

By Natalie Morrison, 07-Sep-2011

Related topics: Delivery technologies, QA/QC, Ingredients

Marina Biotech has strengthened its nucleic acid-peptide drug delivery platform after being granted the allowance for patents application of a library of novel peptides.

Peptides are useful for the targeted delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics, however developing delivery approaches can be difficult because of low affinity and specificity in linear peptide libraries.

Now the RNAi-focussed (ribonucleic acid interference) biotech says its extended capabilities will combat those issues.

Barry Polisky, chief scientific officer at Marina said: “A primary advantage of this patented peptide library is the ability to rapidly screen and identify novel peptides that exhibit cell specific targeting characteristics for directed delivery of nucleic acid therapeutics.

“Delivery remains a significant challenge in the nucleic acid therapeutic space, and peptides with high affinity and specificity are expected to be a fundamental component to developing delivery approaches to a wide spectrum of tissues and cell types.

“In addition, the library may also be exploited to screen for peptides that function as specific antagonists, agonists or generally exhibit drug like properties.”

The firm’s patent application for the Trp Cage Library – which covers over 1x10(15) peptides – will receive final issuance of a U.S. patent after an administrative process is completed.

Turning point

The acceptance of the patents is a step in the right direction for Marina, who has struggled since it plunged from $19 to $15 per share in November of 2007.

And the situation has only worsened for the Washington, US, based firm, who were last month trading at a mere $0.25.

The drop reflects the decline in the RNAi market when, impatient with the slow burning devolpment of what was initially hailed as the next wonder therapy, investors began to back out .

However with the new technology, which is directly applicable to Marina’s DiLA2 and SMARTICLES delivery platforms, as peptides are readily conjugated to the components of these delivery platforms, things could be looking up.

A spokesperson for the company said: “This allowance strengthens the Company’s nucleic acid-peptide drug delivery platform, and further expands the Company’s patent protection for its comprehensive set of nucleic acid delivery technologies, which also include DiLA2™, SMARTICLES® and the tkRNAi™ system.”