Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Expands Pact Kyowa Hakko Kirin; Original Agreement Worth $1.4 Billion Potentially  
12/7/2010 7:33:39 AM

WATERTOWN, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Dicerna), a second generation RNA interference (RNAi) company developing novel therapeutics utilizing its proprietary Dicer Substrate Technology™ and Dicer Substrate siRNA (DsiRNA) molecules, and Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd. (TSE: 4151) (Kyowa Hakko Kirin), one of Japan's leading biopharmaceutical companies, announced today the expansion of their ongoing research collaboration into the new therapeutic area of immunologic and inflammatory diseases. In January 2010, the companies announced a research collaboration and license agreement worth up to $1.4 billion for the research, development and commercialization of DsiRNA pharmaceuticals and drug delivery systems for therapeutic targets in oncology.

“We are pleased to broaden our current research collaboration and license agreement with Kyowa Hakko Kirin into the areas of immunology and inflammation,” said Douglas M. Fambrough, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Dicerna. “This new agreement is a vote of confidence in Dicerna and in the promise of our DsiRNA molecules, which have demonstrated superior potency and longer duration of action in preclinical models, and have the potential to overcome the limitations of other RNAi approaches.”

Under the terms of the expanded agreement, Dicerna will receive a cash payment for exercise by Kyowa Hakko Kirin of an option to bring an additional target into the collaboration. With this expanded collaboration, Dicerna will be actively working in the therapeutic areas of oncology, endocrinology, immunology and inflammation.

“Immunology and inflammation are strategically important fields of research for Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and we are committed to expanding our RNAi-focused research and development efforts with Dicerna into these additional therapeutic areas,” said Etsuo Ohshima, Ph.D., managing officer and vice president, head, research division at Kyowa Hakko Kirin. “We are very pleased with the relationship and progress of our collaboration with Dicerna to date, and look forward to working closely with the company to develop DsiRNA-based medicines that treat patients with unmet medical needs in these disease areas.”

About Kyowa Hakko Kirin

Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd., had a new start in October 2008 following the merger of Kyowa Hakko Kogyo Co., Ltd. and Kirin Pharma Co., Ltd., with the aim of becoming a global specialty pharmaceutical company that creates innovative new drugs. To that end, Kyowa Hakko Kirin is integrating and enhancing the antibody technologies and other advanced technologies and assets that were developed by its predecessor companies. As an R&D-centered company with a strong foundation in biotechnology, Kyowa Hakko Kirin is focusing its core business areas of pharmaceuticals and bio-chemicals to create new value in the life sciences and to contribute to the health and well-being of people around the world.

About Dicer Substrate RNAi

Dicer is a critical enzyme involved in the RNAi gene silencing cascade and acts as the natural initiation point for this pathway by processing double-stranded RNA so that it can be used for gene silencing. Dicer then delivers these modified small RNA molecules to the mature gene silencing complex. Dicerna’s synthetic Dicer Substrate siRNA (DsiRNA) molecules are 25 or more base pairs in length and are processed by Dicer. By utilizing this distinct early entry point into the pathway, DsiRNA molecules have greater potency and longer duration of action than other RNAi approaches. In addition, DsiRNA molecules have enhanced delivery potential because their structure creates a natural conjugation point for cellular targeting agents.

About Dicerna

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals is a private, venture-backed RNAi-focused biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutic agents and related drug delivery systems in multiple disease areas based on its proprietary Dicer Substrate Technology™ platform and Dicer Substrate siRNA (DsiRNA) molecules. Dicer Substrate Technology is a second generation RNAi approach that results in greater potency, longer duration of action and enhanced delivery potential, differentiating it from other RNAi approaches. Dicerna believes that its Dicer Substrate Technology is based on intellectual property that is both broadly enabling and distinct from other IP in the field. Dicerna has a major alliance with Kyowa Hakko Kirin for DsiRNA pharmaceuticals and drug delivery systems focused in oncology, immunology and inflammation. The company also has a partnership with Ipsen to research and develop novel DsiRNA therapeutics with targeted delivery in oncology and endocrinology. Dicerna is based in Watertown, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit