RXI, MirImmune Form Immunotherapy Pact

RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a company specializing in dermatology and ophthalmology products, and MirImmune LLC, a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on immunotherapies, have entered into an exclusive license agreement to RXi’s novel and proprietary sd-rxRNA technology for use in developing cell-based cancer immunotherapies.

Under the terms of the agreement, MirImmune will be responsible for all research, development, manufacturing, regulatory, and commercialization activities for the licensed products. It will develop cell-based therapeutics utilizing RXi’s sd-rxRNA technology to target immune inhibitory pathways (checkpoints) which are responsible for limiting the efficacy of cancer immunotherapies. According to the terms, MirImmune will gain access to RXi’s sd-rxRNA and rxRNAori patent families for ex vivo modification of cells for the treatment of cancer. These patents include the composition of the sd-rxRNA and rxRNAori RNAi structures, as well as potential targets for cell-based therapeutics. As consideration for this license, RXi will receive an annual licensing fee, clinical milestone payments, sublicensing income,and single-digit royalties. Pending MirImmune’s achievement of a few gating milestones, RXi will have the right to acquire a double-digit equity stake in MirImmune.

sd-rxRNAs easily transfect any cell type and do not require formulation in a complex delivery system for efficient cellular uptake, according to RXi. This allows for a streamlined manufacturing process.

Cancer immunotherapy attempts to treat the disease by stimulating the immune system to reject and destroy tumors. There are three main classes of this type of immunotherapy: cell-based therapies, antibody therapies, and cytokine therapies. Cell-based cancer immunotherapy, also known as Autologous Immune Enhancement Therapy (AIET), is a treatment that uses a patient’s own cells. Immune cells (peripheral blood-derived NK cells, Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes and others) are taken out of the body, cultured and processed to become activated (in this case with sd-rxRNA compounds) and are then reinfused to attack cancer cells. Researchers have found that this type of cell therapy primarily targets cancer cells and not healthy cells. This approach differs from chemotherapy and radiotherapy where healthy cells are also destroyed.

Source: RXi Pharmaceuticals

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