Genesis shareholders approve gene silencing venture
Genesis Research and Development Corporation shareholders have unanimously voted in favour of a new joint venture company to commercially advance novel technology.
Solirna Biosciences will provide a research vehicle to create saleable applications for gene silencing technologies, such as could be used on cancer tumours. MATF-1, an investment arm of Japanese listed company MediBIC Group, will invest up to $1 million in an initial benchmarked research programme to develop the technology.
MediBIC’s mission is ‘personalised medicine’, and it has a number of relationships and investments with other biotechnology companies in Asia and North America to develop its pharmacogenomics products. Most of Genesis’ current 10 member team will carry out the Solirna research, and Genesis can use the gene silencing technology in agriculture and horticulture biotechnology.
“We’ve been through a difficult year, and are pleased to have a partner of their quality,” said Stephen Hall, Genesis chief executive. “They know and understand the field of RNA interference, and that the existing technologies have a number of roadblocks,” he said. “They’re aware of the risks, have been asking vigorous questions and providing us with technical background and market intelligence. We’re happy to be working with them.”
Hall said that developing products for biological systems is inherently difficult, and Genesis has had its share of failures. No one can ever be confident of a successful outcome, but enough companies outside MediBIC showed interest in the technology for Genesis to pursue the research path.
The late 2010 proof of concept date signaled in the presentation was indicative only Hall said. To date the technology allowing single strands of RNA to enter a cell, and then activate its gene silencing capability has only been proven in cells in a laboratory.
“The key is to get it working in animals,” Hall said. “That’s what we’re working towards.”
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