RNAi pipeline active as investors, patients wait for commercialization

A while ago, there was talk of a dreaded biotech bubble, and Novartis' ($NVS) decision to slam the breaks on its RNA interference research was making waves. But lately, the talk has turned positive on the promising yet unproven treatment paradigm, which uses RNAi to deliver gene-based therapy. Most recently, the New Scientist gave an overview of research in the field, demonstrating its vast potential for patients and investors alike. "RNAi has come out of the experimental realm into the clinical realm," David Lewis, chief scientific officer at Arrowhead Research in Madison, WI, said in the article. "We're in a hugely exciting time right now. It's not often you get a chance to be part of a nascent field like this that will really make an impact on human medicine." Lewis's company is working on a hepatitis B treatment. Meanwhile, Benitec is targeting hepatitis C; Israel's Silenseed is trying to target k-RAS mutations in the oncology arena; and Tekmira ($TKMR) is in trials to treat hepatocellular cancer, among other RNAi-based therapies in the pipeline. Article