RNA interference—and drugs that turn genes off based on RNAi—continue to be all the rage these days. Drug companies want a piece of the action, and they’re not afraid to pay a lot of money for it. In the latest development, Roche has signed a $331 million deal with Cambridge-based biotech company, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, to develop siRNA drugs.
In other RNAi news, there’s a paper in this week’s Nature from a group with the Harvard-affiliated CBR Institute for Biomedical Research in Boston showing the delivery of siRNA through the blood-brain barrier.
And we just ran a profile of another RNAi startup, spun out of a Beth Israel Deaconess lab, with its own take on how to get small RNA molecules into the right cells…a major challenge for RNA drug developers.
Addendum: there’s a bit of discussion “here”:http://www.xconomy.com/2007/07/09/how-big-a-deal-is-roche-and-alnylams-big-deal/#comments about whether big pharma’s interest (and investments) in RNAi is due to hype or not.