VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 14, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nasdaq:TKMR) (TSX:TKM), a leading developer of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics, today announced its financial and operating results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2013 and provided a corporate update. "Last month, we were pleased to present positive data from the dose escalation portion of our TKM-PLK1 Phase I clinical trial conducted in a population of advanced cancer patients with solid tumors. The data generated demonstrated that TKM-PLK1 showed encouraging signs of drug activity with RNAi activity confirmed in tumor biopsy. We were encouraged that two patients enrolled with gastrointestinal carcinoid (neuroendocrine) cancer, both responded to treatment with TKM-PLK1, and building on these results, we plan to initiate a Phase II clinical trial in patients with previously treated gastrointestinal carcinoid (neuroendocrine) cancer in the second half of 2013," said Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira's President and CEO. "Our successful collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense's JPM-TMT program is ongoing, with recent modifications to our approximately $140 million contract, which will support development plans that integrate advancements in our lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulation and manufacturing technologies, while providing additional funding for the TKM-Ebola program," added Dr. Murray. "We are actively working to grow the number of collaborators using our technology, including pharmaceutical, biotechnology and agricultural companies. We also anticipate some near-term milestones from existing partners, including Alnylam, which has guided that it will present initial data from its ALN-TTR02 Phase II trial in mid-2013 and is on track to start a Phase III pivotal trial for ALN-TTR02 by the end of 2013. Tekmira expects to receive $10 million in milestone payments from Alnylam in 2013," stated Dr. Murray. Corporate Update and Highlights Tekmira's Products TKM-PLK1, Tekmira's Lead Oncology Therapeutic Tekmira's lead oncology product candidate, TKM-PLK1, targets PLK1 (polo-like kinase 1), a protein required for tumor cell proliferation and a validated oncology target. Inhibition of PLK1 expression prevents the tumor cell from completing cell division, resulting in cell cycle arrest and death of the cancer cell.