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Marina Biotech, Inc. (Formerly Known as MDRNA, Inc.) and Debiopharm Achieve Key Pre-Clinical Milestone in Bladder Cancer Program


11/29/2011 7:46:33 AM

BOTHELL, WA--(Marketwire - November 29, 2011) - Marina Biotech, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA), a leading oligonucleotide-based drug discovery and development company, today announced that the Marina/Debiopharm Research and Development (R&D) Team has selected and confirmed the lead DiLA2 formulation for a RNAi-based therapy for the treatment of non-muscle invasive bladder cancer. The team has also advanced the lead UsiRNA candidates towards in vivo evaluation to identify a candidate drug product for continued development. The joint R&D Team expects to select the lead candidate in early 2012. Including lead candidate selection, the Company anticipates achieving several near-term research milestones in the first half of 2012.

"This is significant progress for our bladder cancer program with Debiopharm SA," stated Richard Ho, Executive Vice President, R&D, Marina Biotech. "As evidenced by the decision of the joint R&D team, the lead DiLA2 formulation that Marina Biotech brought to the collaboration does not only provide for efficient delivery but is appropriate for advancement into development. Furthermore, our UsiRNA construct provided highly active sequences against molecular targets selected for evaluation. We are pleased that the program is going well and progressing rapidly towards development of a novel and much needed treatment for bladder cancer."

Marina and Debiopharm SA announced the development and commercialization agreement in February of this year. Debiopharm SA has full responsibility for development and commercialization of any products and is paying up to $24 million based on predefined research and development milestones as well as royalties on the sale of products. Additionally, all Marina research costs for the bladder cancer program have been funded by Debiopharm SA since February 2011.

About DiLA2

DiLA2 is a Marina Biotech proprietary delivery platform of novel synthetic di-alklylated amino acid compounds for liposomal delivery formulations. The versatility of the DiLA2 platform provides for a rapid and scientifically robust process for improving the delivery characteristics of novel formulations to meet specific requirements for a particular therapeutic application, i.e., administration via systemic or local delivery. In addition to research advancements, the development teams at Marina Biotech are focused on the long term commercial requirements for delivery of nucleic acid-based therapeutics such as scale-up, manufacturing, and cost-of-goods.

About UNA and UsiRNA

UNA are non-nucleotide, acyclic monomers which provide greater structural flexibility in an oligonucleotide strand. UsiRNA constructs, which are proprietary to Marina Biotech, are siRNA incorporating at least one UNA and are distinct from standard siRNA constructs. UsiRNAs are specifically designed to provide greater specificity for RNAi-based therapeutics. Substitution with UNA in the passenger strand (non-targeting strand) is intended to eliminate its participation in the RNAi process. Substitution in the guide strand (targeting strand) is intended to eliminate miRNA-like events, while preserving high siRNA-like activity. Optimization of UNA substitutions in siRNA has previously been published by Marina Biotech (Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Mar;39(5):1823-32.).

About Marina Biotech, Inc.

Marina Biotech is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics utilizing multiple mechanisms of action including RNA interference (RNAi) and messenger RNA translational blocking. The Marina Biotech pipeline currently includes a clinical program in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (a precancerous syndrome) and two preclinical programs -- in bladder cancer and malignant ascites. Marina Biotech entered into an exclusive agreement with Debiopharm SA for the development and commercialization of the bladder cancer program. Marina Biotech's goal is to improve human health through the development of RNAi- and oligonucleotide-based compounds and drug delivery technologies that together provide superior therapeutic options for patients. Additional information about Marina Biotech is available at http://www.marinabio.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements made in this news release may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of Federal Securities laws that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and involve factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) the ability of Marina Biotech to obtain additional funding; (ii) the ability of Marina Biotech to attract and/or maintain manufacturing, research, development and commercialization partners; (iii) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to successfully complete product research and development, including preclinical and clinical studies and commercialization; (iv) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to obtain required governmental approvals; and (v) the ability of Marina Biotech and/or a partner to develop and commercialize products prior to, and that can compete favorably with those of, competitors. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested in any forward-looking statements are contained in Marina Biotech's most recent periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Marina Biotech assumes no obligation to update and supplement forward-looking statements because of subsequent events.


Contact:
Marina Biotech, Inc.
Philip Ranker
Interim Chief Financial Officer
(425) 908-3615
pranker@marinabio.com


Read at BioSpace.com

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