Recently, MDRNA Inc. (MRNA) announced that it will purchase privately held Cequent Pharmaceuticals for about $46 million. The all-stock deal is aimed at expanding its oncology pipeline. Furthermore, the transaction would boost MDRNA’s Ribo Nucleic Acid interference (RNAi) Drug Discovery Platform capabilities. 

The transaction is expected to close in July 2010.
Both companies use Ribo Nucleic Acid interference (RNAi) technology to make drugs to fight a wide array of diseases. RNA interference technology is a natural cellular process for selectively turning off the activity of genes.
The acquisition will expand MDRNA’s oncology pipeline. Through this deal, MDRNA will gain access to a candidate for treating familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP). FAP is a genetic disease that is the predecessor to colon cancer. The candidate will soon be tested in humans.
Subsequent to the merger, the President and CEO of MDRNA will act as the President, CEO and board member of the merged entity. The President and CEO of Cequent will be the chairman of the combined entity’s Board of Directors. The Board of the combined entity will include an additional five members, two each from the existing boards of MDRNA and Cequent, along with an additional independent director to be picked by the combined Board.
MDRNA recently joined forces with Pfizer (PFE) to evaluate MDRNA’s proprietary di-alkylated amino acids (DiLA2) platform and UsiRNA constructs for RNAi technology. This is MDRNA’s fourth collaboration with a big pharma player in the last nine months.
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