CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Cequent Pharmaceuticals, a pioneer in the development of novel products to deliver RNAi-based treatments to prevent and treat human disease, announced that its Vice President of Research, Johannes Fruehauf, MD, Ph.D., is slated to speak at the RNAi World Congress meeting in Boston. His presentation, "Treatment of Gastrointestinal Targets using RNA Interference," is scheduled for 4:25 pm on Friday, May 2, at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport. Dr. Fruehauf is co-inventor of Cequent's proprietary TransKingdom RNA interference (tkRNAi(TM)) technology, designed to solve one of the key challenges to RNAi therapeutics -- delivery of the RNAi into the cell.
Cequent's goal with its first clinical candidate is to prevent polyp formation in patients with a high risk of developing colon cancer. In his talk, Dr. Fruehauf will give an overview of the company's preclinical-development program for the therapeutic, presenting efficacy data in mouse models and data on a major monkey toxicology study currently under way. The latter is the first study evaluating the safety and efficacy of tkRNAi in a non-human primate model -- an important step for Cequent in the development of tkRNAi-based drugs for human disease. In addition, Dr. Fruehauf will introduce Cequent's programs for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and human Papilloma virus (HPV), which targets cervical cancer.
Dr. Fruehauf's participation in the RNAi World Congress follows Cequent presentations at two other high-profile conferences. In March, Dr. Fruehauf introduced tkRNAi and its application in cancer prevention targeting beta-catenin at the Keystone Symposium on RNAi, MicroRNA, and Non-Coding RNA in Whistler, British Columbia. Cequent's Associate Director of RNAi Research, Jens Harborth, Ph.D., also presented at the conference, discussing the company's unique algorithm of developing tkRNAi target sequences, which are active across species. This approach allows the company to conduct accelerated toxicology and efficacy programs on the way to clinical trials. In April, Dr. Fruehauf presented mouse data from Cequent's colon cancer prevention program at the American Association for Cancer Research annual meeting in San Diego, California.
About tkRNAi(TM) -- TransKingdom RNA Interference
Cequent's tkRNAi technology offers an elegant "Trojan horse" solution to the problem of how to deliver the molecules triggering RNAi into the target cells and diseased tissues. In a proprietary process, we modify live, nonpathogenic E. coli bacteria to produce and deposit mediators of RNA interference (short hairpin RNA) directly into the target cells. The nonpathogenic bacteria are subsequently degraded by the host cells without adverse effects, and eliminated by the body through its own natural processes. This method has been shown to induce targeted gene silencing (in other words, it disables the "bad" gene or genes that cause disease, without affecting the surrounding genes), delivering significant therapeutic effects in multiple model systems, including live animals. All of the clinical drug candidates in our pipeline are based on this tkRNAi technology.
About Cequent Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
An early-stage biopharmaceutical company, Cequent is pioneering the development of novel therapeutics to prevent and treat a wide range of human diseases -- from inflammatory diseases to cancer -- based on the company's proprietary technology, TransKingdom RNA interference (tkRNAi(TM)). Cequent's first products, now in pre-clinical development, are drug candidates targeting colon-cancer prevention and inflammatory bowel disease. The company designed its powerful tkRNAi technology to deactivate specific disease-causing genes safely and effectively, using non-pathogenic bacteria as an engine to produce and deliver RNAi directly into cells. It is based on ground-breaking scientific research originating at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School. A privately held company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cequent was established in 2006. For more information, visit http://www.cequentpharma.com.
SOURCE Cequent Pharmaceuticals, Inc.