MiRacle Consortium Led by InteRNA Technologies and VU University Medical Center Along with Quiet Therapeutics Receives a € 1.2 Million FP7 Grant from the European Union

Therapeutic development of cancer cell-specific targeting of novel tumor-selective lethal miRNAs for the treatment of head and neck cancer - acronym: MiRacle

(PresseBox) ( Nijmegen/Utrecht and Amsterdam, the Netherlands, )
InteRNA Technologies B.V., the Dutch biopharma company engaged in the development of microRNA (miRNA)-based therapeutics for oncology, and VU University Medical Center (VUmc) announce today they have been granted funding from the European Union's FP7program "Research for the benefit of SMEs". InteRNA and VUmc, who are leading this consortium, together with Quiet Therapeutics Ltd (Israel), a biopharma SME engaged in the development of a new class of highly selective targeted therapeutics for oncology and inflammation, have been granted around € 1.2 million, to develop the targeted delivery of novel tumor-selective lethal miRNAs for the treatment of head and neck cancer. The consortium further includes BioSpring (Germany), OctoPlus (the Netherlands) and the Laboratory of Pharmacology and Toxicology LPT (Germany).

MiRacle focuses on the development of a targeted therapeutic formulation for the treatment of head and neck cancer. Head and neck (H&N) cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide and the incidence increases. Unfortunately the majority of H&N cancer patients present with advanced stages of disease. These patients frequently develop locoregional recurrences, distant metastasis and/or second primary tumors resulting in 5-years survival rates of less than 60% The development of novel anti-cancer agents to improve outcome is therefore urgently awaited.

The goal of MiRacle is the advancement of the safe, targeted delivery of therapeutic tumor-selective lethal miRNA formulation towards the clinic by combining two innovative technologies, i.e. application of therapeutic miRNAs using cancer cell-specific targeted drug delivery.

Besides the expertise on the therapeutic application of miRNA and the in depth knowledge of the therapeutic indication, e.g. H&N cancer, the MiRacle consortium brings together the knowledge on the synthesis of biochemical active miRNAs, the expertise in drug formulation to specifically deliver therapeutic miRNA into humans, the understanding for synthesis of complex drug formulations, the preclinical testing, and the skillfulness in toxicity tests that are required for RNA based drug registration.

"The unique tumor-selective lethal miRNAs identified display a very interesting biology and potential therapeutic effect that warrants further development towards the clinic. This FP7 grant exemplifies that with this consortium we have all the expertise in place to bring a tumor killing miRNA in a targeted and safe manner towards registration for first in human testing", said Roel Schaapveld, Chief Executive Officer of InteRNA Technologies.

"This FP7 grant enables the next step in the translation of the tumor-selective lethal microRNAs that we discovered" said Ruud Brakenhof, Professor of Cancer Genetics, Tumor Biology Section at the Department of Otolaryngology/Head-Neck Surgery of VUmc.

About Quiet Therapeutics

Quiet Therapeutics is a product oriented biopharma company located in Israel that is developing a new class of highly selective targeted therapeutics called Gagomers. We are developing a pipeline of Gagomer formulated products utilizing small molecules or RNAi therapeutics with broad applications in oncology and inflammation. With our novel platform, we are uniquely positioned to allow for the improvement of performance, indication expansion or life cycle extensions of currently available products.

About BioSpring

BioSpring is an independent and technology-based company located in Frankfurt a.M., Germany, providing manufacturing as well as analytical services to the pharma and biotech industry.

For more than 16 years, BioSpring has been providing oligonucleotides in smaller as well as larger scales for therapeutic (cGMP certified), diagnostic (ISO13485 certified) and research purposes as well as related analytical services for oligonucleotides in a broad range.

About OctoPlus

OctoPlus, a subsidiary of Dr. Reddy's Laboratories Ltd., is a leading service provider for the development and GMP manufacturing of injectable drug product formulations. OctoPlus builds on 18 years of experience in the field of injectable drug delivery for small molecules, peptides, proteins and nucleic acid derived compounds.

With our team of highly dedicated scientists, engineers and GMP experts we develop and manufacture any type of injectable formulation, ranging from controlled release microspheres, liposomes and highly concentrated protein formulations to the more standard formulations, both freeze dried and liquid.

Follow OctoPlus on LinkedIn or check www.octoplus.nl for more information.

About LPT

LPT is one of Germany's leading GLP-accredited toxicology laboratories providing testing and consulting services to the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical and agrochemical sectors. LPT's strengths are in the areas of regulatory pre-clinical toxicology studies and safety assessment of chemicals. Studies are conducted in compliance with international guidelines and can be custom designed to meet clients' regulatory needs.
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