FierceBiotech reported the pharmaceutical giant's confirmation that ongoing problems in delivering such therapies tied to the limited number of potential relevant targets led to the move.
"We have decided to significantly reduce our internal drug discovery efforts in RNA therapeutics," Novartis told FierceBiotech in a statement. "This decision was driven by ongoing challenges with formulation and delivery and the reality that the current range of medically relevant targets where siRNA may be used is quite narrow. In the future we will have a small group working in this field and look for partnering opportunities."
Tekmira suffered in the wake of the news, as it is involved in RNAi drug development. The stock plunged more than 18% to hit a low of $15.02 for the day as of 3:03 p.m. on Monday.