VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Jan. 31, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nasdaq:TKMR) (TSX:TKM), a leading developer of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics, announced today that complete study results have been published from a Phase I trial with ALN-VSP, a systemically delivered RNAi therapeutic for the treatment of advanced solid tumors with liver involvement, which utilizes Tekmira's lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology. ALN-VSP is being developed by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ALNY).
"This published work further validates the longer-term safety and tolerability of Tekmira's industry-leading LNP delivery platform, which is enabling the anti-tumor activity reported in this paper. Our LNP technology, which represents the most widely-used delivery technology in the RNAi field, is driving the advancement of our own product pipeline, including our lead cancer therapeutic TKM-PLK1, as well as the clinical-stage therapeutics of our partners," said Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira's President and CEO.
Tekmira has granted Alnylam a license to use Tekmira's LNP technology to advance RNAi therapeutic products, including the products ALN-VSP, ALN-TTR and ALN-PCS, and Tekmira remains eligible to receive milestones and royalties as Alnylam's LNP enabled products are developed and commercialized. Tekmira will receive a $5 million payment related to initiation of clinical trials for ALN-VSP in China. Alnylam has guided that it expects to report results in mid-2013 from its Phase II study with ALN-TTR02 in patients with ATTR, and anticipates initiating a Phase III pivotal trial of ALN-TTR02 in late 2013. Tekmira will receive a $5 million milestone payment upon ALN-TTR02 entering a pivotal trial and royalties on commercial sales of ALN-TTR.The most recently published paper is entitled " First-in-Man Trial of an RNA Interference Therapeutic Targeting VEGF and KSP in Cancer Patients with Liver Involvement" and appears as an OnlineFirst publication in the journal Cancer Discovery (Tabernero et al., Cancer Discovery CD-12-0429; Published OnlineFirst January 2013). More detailed information about the Phase I Clinical Trial and Extension Study with ALN-VSP can be found in Alnylam's news release dated January 30, 2013, which has been posted at www.alnylam.com . About RNAi and Tekmira's LNP RNAi therapeutics have the potential to treat a broad number of human diseases by "silencing" disease causing genes. The discoverers of RNAi, a gene silencing mechanism used by all cells, were awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi therapeutics, such as "siRNAs," require delivery technology to be effective systemically. Tekmira believes its LNP technology represents the most widely adopted delivery technology for the systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics. Tekmira's LNP platform is being utilized in multiple clinical trials by both Tekmira and its partners. Tekmira's LNP technology (formerly referred to as stable nucleic acid-lipid particles or SNALP) encapsulates siRNAs with high efficiency in uniform lipid nanoparticles that are effective in delivering RNAi therapeutics to disease sites in numerous preclinical models. Tekmira's LNP formulations are manufactured by a proprietary method which is robust, scalable and highly reproducible, and LNP-based products have been reviewed by multiple FDA divisions for use in clinical trials. LNP formulations comprise several lipid components that can be adjusted to suit the specific application.