WORCESTER, Mass., Jan 14, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nasdaq: RXII), a biopharmaceutical company pursuing the development and commercialization of proprietary therapeutics based on RNA interference (RNAi), today announced a collaboration with Shalesh Kaushal, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS). The research collaboration will be focused on the application of RXi's self-delivering RNAi (sd-rxRNA(TM)) compounds for ocular diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 55 years of age.
RXi previously presented encouraging data on spontaneous cellular uptake and potent activity of sd-rxRNA compounds in retinal cells. The collaboration with UMMS will further advance RXi's therapeutic platform by evaluating the delivery and silencing activity of sd-rxRNAs in preclinical models of ocular disease.
Noah D. Beerman, President and CEO of RXi Pharmaceuticals commented, "We are eager to explore the use of our sd-rxRNA compounds in additional therapeutic areas, such as ocular disease, and to continue our successful relationship with the leading researchers at UMMS. Leveraging academic collaborations is an essential part of our business strategy and we are looking forward to collaborating with one of the top clinical research ophthalmologists in the U.S."
Dr. Kaushal commented, "RXi's next generation sd-rxRNA compounds incorporate many drug-like properties of a successful therapeutic and may improve the clinical success of RNAi therapeutics. I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with such promising technology from one of the leading RNAi therapeutics companies."
About RNA Interference (RNAi) and Self-delivering rxRNA(TM) (sd-rxRNA(TM))
Regarded as a revolutionary discovery in biology, RNA interference (RNAi) is a naturally occurring mechanism whereby short, double-stranded RNA molecules interfere with the expression of genes in living cells. This mechanism has the potential to be harnessed to "silence" or specifically block the production of disease-causing proteins before they are made. This technology can potentially be used to treat human diseases by "turning-off" genes that lead to disease in the first place. RXi Pharmaceuticals is using RNAi technology to develop RNA-derived molecules targeting disease-causing genes.
Self-delivering rxRNA(TM) (sd-rxRNA(TM)) is a proprietary technology developed at RXi which has the potential to enable the efficient delivery of RNAi compounds without the requirement of an additional delivery vehicle. This technology has potential clinical applications for diseases where localized delivery is an option and also has the potential to be applied for indications requiring systemic delivery of RNAi.
About RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation
RXi Pharmaceuticals is a discovery-stage biopharmaceutical company pursuing the development and commercialization of proprietary therapeutics based on RNA interference (RNAi) for the treatment of human diseases. RXi has a comprehensive therapeutic platform that includes both RNAi compounds and delivery methods. RXi uses its own version of RNAi compounds -- rxRNA(TM) -- that provide an advanced alternative to conventional small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) and define the next generation of RNAi technology. rxRNA(TM) compounds are designed specifically for therapeutic use and contain many of the properties needed to move RNAi based drugs into the clinic. RXi Pharmaceuticals believes it is well positioned to compete successfully in the RNAi-based therapeutics market with its accomplished scientific advisors, including Dr. Craig Mello, recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize for his co-discovery of RNAi; a management team that is experienced in developing RNAi products; and a strong early intellectual property position in RNAi chemistry and delivery. www.rxipharma.com
About the University of Massachusetts Medical School
The University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) attracts more than $240 million in research funding annually, and its innovative programs are the centerpiece of the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative. Consistently ranked by U.S.News & World Report as one of the leading medical schools in the nation for primary care education, UMMS comprises a medical school, graduate school of nursing, graduate school of biomedical sciences and an active research enterprise, and is a leader in health sciences education, research and public service. UMMS is the academic partner of UMass Memorial Health Care. For more information, visit www.umassmed.edu
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements include, but are not limited to, statements about future expectations, plan and future development of RXi Pharmaceutical Corporation's products and technologies. These forward-looking statements about future expectations, plans and prospects of the development of RXi Pharmaceutical Corporation's products and technologies involve significant risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including the risk that the development of our RNAi-based therapeutics may be delayed or may not proceed as planned and we may not be able to complete development of any RNAi-based product, the risk that the FDA approval process may be delayed for any drugs that we develop, risks related to development and commercialization of products by our competitors, risks related to our ability to control the timing and terms of collaborations with third parties and the possibility that other companies or organizations may assert patent rights that prevent us from developing our products. Actual results may differ materially from those RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation contemplated by these forward-looking statements. RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation does not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect a change in its views or events or circumstances that occur after the date of this release.
SOURCE: RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Donna Falcetti, 508-929-3615
S. A. Noonan Communications
Susan Noonan, 212-966-3650
Rx Communications Group
Eric Goldman, 917-322-2563