Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation, has entered into a multi-year, target validation agreement with global biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb Company.
Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira’s President and CEO, said, “We are pleased to expand our relationship with Bristol-Myers Squibb, which has been a collaborator of ours for several years. This agreement provides Bristol-Myers Squibb with the opportunity to validate the function of certain cellular targets by using SNALP formulations supplied by Tekmira. Importantly, Bristol-Myers Squibb will share the data it generates with Tekmira. This will enable us to leverage the target validation capabilities of a global pharmaceutical company to identify our own RNAi product development opportunities.”
Under the agreement, Bristol-Myers Squibb will use small interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules formulated by Tekmira in stable nucleic acid-lipid particles (SNALP) to silence target genes of interest. Bristol-Myers Squibb will conduct the preclinical work to validate the function of certain genes and share these data with Tekmira. Tekmira can then use the preclinical data to develop RNAi therapeutic drugs against the therapeutic targets of interest. Bristol-Myers Squibb will pay Tekmira US$3.0 million concurrent with the signing of the agreement. Tekmira is responsible for providing a pre-determined number of the SNALP batches over the four-year agreement. Bristol-Myers Squibb will have a first right to negotiate a licensing agreement on certain RNAi products developed by Tekmira that evolve from gene targets validated by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Tekmira’s pipeline currently consists of its lead RNAi therapeutic product candidate ApoB SNALP, which is being developed as a treatment for high LDL, or “bad” cholesterol. ApoB SNALP is scheduled to enter a Phase 1-2 human clinical trial later this year.
Tekmira remains on track with its second product candidate, PLK1 SNALP, to file an investigational new drug (IND) application and initiate a Phase 1 human clinical trial in the second half of 2010. PLK1 SNALP is being developed as a treatment for cancer.