CINCINNATI, OH and HANNOVER, GERMANY and BOTHELL, WA--(Marketwire - May 21, 2012) - Marina Biotech, Inc. (OTCQX: MRNA), a leading nucleic acid-based drug discovery and development company, and Girindus Group today announced that they have entered into a strategic alliance where Girindus will have exclusive rights to develop, supply and commercialize certain oligonucleotide constructs using Marina's Conformationally Restricted Nucleotide (CRN) chemistry and in return, Marina will receive royalties from the sale of CRN-based oligonucleotide reagents as well as a robust supply of cGMP material for Marina and its partners' pre-clinical, clinical and commercialization needs.
"Girindus has re-invented its business since 2009 by developing oligonucleotide manufacturing as a major focus while leveraging its established small molecule expertise to the benefit of their client base," said Marc Lemaitre, CEO of Girindus America Inc. and Vorstand of Girindus AG. "This alliance with Marina is very important for Girindus as it clearly exemplifies our strategy to provide integrated services to our oligonucleotide customers. Girindus is unique in being able to provide oligonucleotide development and manufacturing services, with related analytical and regulatory support, as well as apply small molecule chemistry to both amidites and oligonucleotide modifications. The small molecule chemistry component of our business provides our customers a one-stop shop when they need other products related to nucleosides, exotic phosphoramidites or drug delivery products. This strategy allows Girindus to develop and exploit, to the benefit of our customers, both the solid-phase technology platform related to oligonucleotides and a wide array of established solution-phase chemistries. We have decided to enter into this alliance with Marina because we believe its proprietary CRN chemistry provides unique benefits to oligonucleotide constructs, and offers a new research and development tool to the field of nucleic acid based therapeutics."
Conformationally Restricted Nucleotides are patented analogs in which a chemical bridge connects the C2' and C4' carbons of ribose. Ribose, a five-carbon ring-like structure, forms the central component of a nucleotide (comprised of a nucleobase, ribose, and phosphate group). The chemical bridge in the ribose of a CRN locks the ribose in a fixed conformation, which in turn restricts the flexibility of the nucleobase and phosphate group. Substitution of a CRN within an RNA- or DNA-based oligonucleotide has the advantages of increased hybridization affinity and enhanced resistance to nuclease degradation. CRN technology provides a direct means of developing highly potent and specific oligonucleotide-based therapeutics to target messenger RNAs or microRNAs. These targets connect disease pathways that are typically "undruggable" or "difficult to target" with small molecules or monoclonal antibodies, and may be critical in disease areas with significant unmet needs, such as inflammation, metabolic disease, and cancers. Marina Biotech's CRN patent estate consists of two issued patents broadly covering CRN compounds and CRN containing oligonucleotides, and one pending patent application covering additional applications of CRNs.
"We are pleased to have entered into this strategic alliance with Girindus," stated J. Michael French, President and CEO of Marina Biotech. "Our mission here at Marina is to conduct basic research in the application of oligonucleotide-based therapeutics to treat human disease as well as to advance those therapeutics through preclinical and clinical development and ultimately to the market. This alliance with Girindus allows us to move the development and supply of CRN-based oligonucleotides to a team with exceptional experience and capability thus allowing us to focus on bringing novel therapeutics to patients in need."
About Girindus AG and Girindus America Inc.
Girindus America is a contract manufacturing organization and a recognized leader in process development, analytical method development and cGMP manufacture of oligonucleotide therapeutics from gram to multi kilogram scale. Girindus offers customers a broad range of services to support pre-clinical studies, clinical studies, and commercialization. In addition, Girindus offers small molecule synthesis services and radio labeling services. All production is performed at the FDA registered and inspected site in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. (FDA Establishment Registration Number: 3003270485.) Girindus AG, the parent company of Girindus America Inc., operates European Sales and Service from Hannover, Germany.
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 recently announced an exclusive licensing agreement with Monsanto Company for Marina Biotech's delivery and chemistry technologies. 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 in the near term; (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.