BOTHELL, WA--(Marketwire - April 03, 2012) - Marina Biotech, Inc. (OTCQX: MRNA), a leading nucleic acid-based drug discovery and development company, today announced the completion of dosing for Cohort 2 in the Dose Escalation Phase of its START-FAP (Safety and Tolerability of An RNAi Therapeutic in Familial Adenomatous Polyposis) clinical trial with CEQ508. The three patients of Cohort 2 received a dose of 1x10(9) colony forming units (cfu)/day for up to 28 days of continuous oral dosing. Patients were monitored by study staff on a daily basis with the primary study endpoint of determining safety and tolerability of CEQ508 in patients with FAP. Dosing of Cohort 3 is expected to begin later in the second quarter of this year with each patient in the cohort receiving a dose of 1x10(10) cfu/day for up to 28 days.
"We're pleased to announce the completion of dosing of the second patient Cohort and plan to progress to Cohort 3 of our START-FAP trial," stated J. Michael French, President and CEO at Marina Biotech. "Progression through the dose escalation phase will determine the most appropriate once-daily dose for the stable dose phase. We are eager to advance into our next dosing cohort and continue to be on track with our projections of completing the dose escalation phase by the end of the year. We believe CEQ508 has the potential to be a safe and efficacious therapeutic for a patient population with no currently approved pharmaceutical alternative."
CEQ508 is the first drug candidate in a novel class of therapeutic agents utilizing the transkingdom RNA interference (tkRNAi) platform. CEQ508 comprises attenuated bacteria that are engineered to enter into dysplastic tissue and release a payload of short-hairpin RNA (shRNA), a mediator in the RNAi pathway. The shRNA targets the mRNA of beta-catenin, which is known to be dysregulated in classical FAP. CEQ508 is being developed as an orally administered treatment to reduce the levels of beta-catenin protein in the epithelial cells of the small and large intestine. Upon enrollment, patients will be placed in one of four dose-escalating cohorts. Following completion of the dose escalation phase, the trial plan calls for a stable-dose phase in which additional patients will receive the highest safe dose. CEQ508 will be administered daily in an oral suspension for 28 consecutive days. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
CEQ508 is being developed for the treatment of Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP), a hereditary condition that occurs in approximately 1:10,000 persons worldwide. FAP is caused by mutations in the Adenomatous Polyposis Coli (APC) gene. As a result of these mutations, epithelial cells lining the intestinal tract have increased levels of the protein beta-catenin, which in turn, results in uncontrolled cell growth. Proliferation of the epithelial cells results in the formation of numerous (hundreds to thousands) non-cancerous growths (polyps) throughout the large intestine. By age 35, 95% of individuals with FAP have developed polyps and most will experience adverse effects including increased risk of bleeding and the potential for anemia. In more severe cases, obstruction of the intestines, abdominal pain, and severe bouts of diarrhea or constipation can occur. FAP patients are also at an increased risk of various cancers, the most concerning of which is a nearly 100% occurrence of colon cancer if measures are not taken to prevent the formation of polyps. For many patients, complete colectomy (surgical removal of the entire large intestine), usually performed in the late teenage years or early twenties, is the only viable option for treatment. However, surgical intervention is not curative as the risk of polyps forming in the remaining portions of the intestinal tract and in the small intestine continues after colectomy.
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 The Debiopharm Group for the development and commercialization of the bladder cancer program. In addition, Marina Biotech has entered into an agreement with both Mirna Therapeutics and ProNAi Therapeutics to license Marina Biotech's SMARTICLES® technology for the delivery of microRNA mimics and DNAi, respectively. 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.
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.