SOURCE: MDRNA, Inc.

October 22, 2008 08:00 ET

MDRNA, Inc. Acquires Patent Estate to Broaden Its RNAi Intellectual Property Portfolio

Acquires Rights to UNA Technology for Proprietary Stabilization of Both RISC and Dicer siRNAs

BOTHELL, WA--(Marketwire - October 22, 2008) - MDRNA, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA) announced today that it has acquired intellectual property related to non-nucleotide chemistry (Unlocked Nucleic Acid) technology from RiboTask ApS, a privately held Danish company specializing in the development and synthesis of novel RNA chemistries. The technology will permit MDRNA to stabilize and provide drug-like properties to RISC and Dicer length siRNAs in a novel and proprietary manner. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

"MDRNA's position as a leading RNAi-based therapeutics company has been further strengthened by the acquisition of this UNA intellectual property," said J. Michael French, President and CEO of MDRNA. "We believe MDRNA is the only biotech company in the RNAi space with a state-of-the-art drug discovery platform focused on both multiple siRNA constructs and multiple delivery technologies, and an enabling intellectual property estate, which are necessary to establish broad therapeutic collaborations with pharmaceutical companies. We are pleased to have this opportunity to work with such a renowned RNA scientist as Dr. Jesper Wengel of RiboTask and look forward to the opportunity to realize the breadth of his discovery through the advancement of UNA-siRNAs into the clinic."

"Unlocked Nucleic Acid, an acyclic ribonucleoside analog, increases the breadth of MDRNA's technology platform by providing additional, novel RNA chemistries," stated Michael Templin, Ph.D., Vice President of Drug Discovery and Pharmaceutical Development, who discussed the Company's work on UNA-siRNAs for the first time publicly today at the Discovery on Target: "RNAi for Therapeutics" Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. "The research we have conducted in our laboratories suggests that the addition of UNA increases siRNA stability, reduces off-target activity and improves gene silencing -- characteristics that are widely accepted as key to improved siRNA safety and efficacy. We are extremely encouraged by this early work and expect to be able use UNA to create proprietary RISC and Dicer length siRNAs."

Jesper Wengel, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chairman of RiboTask, Professor and Director of the Nucleic Acid Center, University of Southern Denmark, and inventor of the UNA technology, commented, "MDRNA and RiboTask's data indicating that UNA improves the drug-like properties of siRNAs by reducing sense and antisense mediated off-target effects while retaining the potency of siRNA molecules, makes it clear that this approach holds great promise for the development and commercialization of RNAi-based therapeutics." Suzy Lena Wengel, Co-founder and CEO of RiboTask, stated, "While RiboTask is looking forward to commercializing the diagnostic and reagents applications of UNA, we are glad that this technology is in the hands of MDRNA whose scientific expertise and capabilities are necessary to bring UNA-siRNAi therapeutics to patients with significant unmet medical needs."

About Unlocked Nucleic Acid

Unlocked nucleic acid (UNA) is an acyclic ribonucleoside analog in which the bond between C2' and C3' atoms is broken. This change in sugar structure renders this nucleoside analog very flexible. This characteristic is in sharp contrast to the widely used locked nucleosides that locks the sugar conformation by a bridged bond between C2' and C4' atoms. The flexible nature of UNA reduces the binding affinity between two strands of siRNA molecule and gives unique characteristics to its gene-silencing abilities. MDRNA has demonstrated that UNA has the potential to improve siRNA therapeutics by increasing stability and reducing sense- and antisense-mediated off-target effects while retaining potency.

About MDRNA, Inc.

MDRNA is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of therapeutic products based on RNA interference (RNAi). Our goal is to improve human health through the development of RNAi-based compounds and drug delivery technologies that together provide superior therapeutic options for patients. Over the past decade, we have developed substantial capabilities in molecular biology, cellular biology, lipid chemistry, peptide chemistry, pharmacology and bioinformatics, which we are applying to a wide range of RNAi technologies and delivery approaches. These capabilities plus the in-licensing of key RNAi-related intellectual property have rapidly enabled us to become a leading RNAi-based therapeutics company with a pre-clinical pipeline in key therapeutic areas including oncology, metabolic disorders and inflammation. Through our capabilities, expertise and know-how, we are incorporating multiple RNAi technologies as well as peptide- and lipid-based delivery approaches into a single integrated drug discovery platform that will be the engine for our clinical pipeline as well as a versatile platform for establishing broad therapeutic partnerships with biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. We are also investing in new technologies that we expect to lead to safer and more effective RNAi-based therapeutics while aggressively building upon our broad and extensive intellectual property estate. By combining broad expertise in siRNA science with proven delivery platforms and a strong IP position, MDRNA is well positioned as a leading RNAi-based drug discovery and development company. Additional information about MDRNA, Inc. is available at http://www.mdrnainc.com.

About RiboTask ApS

RiboTask is a Danish biotechnology company offering RNA oligonucleotides for research and development purposes. Among the products and services provided by RiboTask are highly complex RNA oligonucleotides and incorporation of customer-specific proprietary modifications. Central products of RiboTask are UNA- and LNA-modified RNA oligonucleotides, and "Superior-Probes" for microRNA targeting. RiboTask is furthermore engaged in research and development of new RNA-related products and technologies. Additional information about RiboTask ApS is available at http://www.ribotask.com.

MDRNA Forward-Looking Statement

Statements made in this news release may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of Federal Securities laws that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and involve factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) the ability of MDRNA or a subsidiary to obtain additional funding; (ii) the ability of MDRNA or a subsidiary to attract and/or maintain manufacturing, research, development and commercialization partners; (iii) the ability of MDRNA, a subsidiary and/or a partner to successfully complete product research and development, including preclinical and clinical studies and commercialization; (iv) the ability of MDRNA, a subsidiary and/or a partner to obtain required governmental approvals; and (v) the ability of MDRNA, a subsidiary and/or a partner to develop and commercialize products that can compete favorably with those of competitors. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested in any forward-looking statements are contained in MDRNA's most recent periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. MDRNA assumes no obligation to update and supplement forward-looking statements because of subsequent events.

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