Marina's technology delivers ProNAi's DNA in Phase I

Despite pretty much running out of cash this summer, Marina Biotech ($MRNA) is still struggling along, touting Phase I results from licensee ProNAi Therapeutics. This study used Marina's Smarticles liposomal technology to deliver PNT2258, ProNAi's DNA-based cancer drug. Marina signed its $14M discovery pact with ProNAi in March.

PNT2258 is an interference oligonucleotide (DNAi) that targets cells driven by the Bcl-2 gene. This includes diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma, and prostate and breast cancer. In a Phase I trial, in patients with advanced cancer, PNT2258 delivered using the Smarticles DNA delivery technology cut Bcl-2 protein production up to 60%, with none of the side effects often seen with other anti-Bcl-2 drugs or nucleic acid cancer drugs in development, according to the company. PNT2258 could be given alone or in combination with other anti-cancer drugs.

The data were presented at the annual Symposium on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics jointly hosted by the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer, the National Cancer Institute and the American Association for Cancer Research.

Marina has had a checkered history. In August 2010, Mirina Corp. bared its teeth, filing a trademark infringement lawsuit after Marina changed its name from MDRNA after a $46 million merger with RNAi drug developer Cequent. Before MDRNA, Marina was known as Nastech. Early this year, Marina shut down Cequent's labs in Cambridge, MA, moving the research to Bothell, WA, but then in June, after funding problems, shut down the majority of its programs and axed around 90% of its staff.

- read the press release