Research into the delivery of RNAi has focused on ensuring the molecule’s stability and ability to target relevant organs and tissues. Philips and RXi believe the combination of their respective technologies could fulfil both of these requirements.
In preclinical studies the companies will investigate the use of RXi’s self-delivering rxRNA (sd-rxRNA) alongside Philips’ ultrasound technology. sd-rxRNA is designed to enable administration and spontaneous cellular uptake without the use of a delivery vehicle.
These capabilities are achieved by chemically modifying the compound to give it stability in biological fluids, a low stimulatory effect on the immune system and high target specificity.
"By combining RXi's proprietary sd-rxRNA molecules, which have unique properties of ‘self delivery', and Philips' ultrasound technologies, we will be working together to achieve targeted and specific delivery to relevant organs and tissues”, said Noah Beerman, president and CEO at RXi.
Under the terms of the agreement sd-rxRNA will be investigated in conjunction with Philips’ image-guided ultrasound-mediated drug delivery platform. Philips’ tool allows the investigation of delivery of therapeutics across blood vessel barriers and facilitates uptake into cells.
"The development of ultrasound techniques that could non-invasively trigger the delivery of new drug formats such as RNAi therapeutics at a targeted location opens up exciting possibilities for advancing personalized medicine", said Henk van Houten, senior vice president of Philips Research.
Researchers will investigate the use of these technologies at Philips’ facilities in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and RXi’s operations in Worcester, Massachusetts, US. Both companies will contribute proprietary technologies, resources and expertise to the project.