March 15, 2010 08:30 ET

MDRNA, Inc. Demonstrates the Potential for Greater Efficacy in Cancer With an UsiRNA Combination Approach

Announces Early Collaborative Effort With AstraZeneca Innovation Center China

BOTHELL, WA--(Marketwire - March 15, 2010) -  MDRNA, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA), a leading RNAi-based drug discovery and development company, today announced enhanced efficacy for tumor reduction when two UsiRNA were combined within a single formulation. The UsiRNAs targeted two proteins survivin, a protein involved in cell division and inhibition of apoptosis, and PLK1 (Polo-like Kinase 1), a protein involved in cell mitosis and tumor progression. Both UsiRNA were encapsulated in the Company's proprietary DiLA2-based formulation, and delivered directly to the bladder (intravesical) in an orthotopic cancer model. At an equivalent total dose, tumor bioluminescence with a combination approach was significantly lower (~30%), when compared to a single UsiRNA. Additionally, the Company also announced another early collaborative effort with a major international pharmaceutical company bringing the total number of early collaborative efforts to three.

"Oncology drug products that simultaneously target multiple disease genes provide a greater potential therapeutic impact for a variety of cancers," stated Barry Polisky, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer at MDRNA, Inc. "These studies demonstrate the versatility of our DiLA2 platform to readily formulate two UsiRNAs into a single formulation and to efficiently deliver these UsiRNAs to target cells. We believe that a multi-target approach is likely to be required for treatment of many cancers and thus plays a central role in MDRNA's oncology pipeline."

The early collaborative effort with AstraZeneca Investment (China) Company, Ltd. will utilize the broad capabilities of MDRNA's proprietary discovery engine for RNAi therapeutics and its world-class research team. This latest collaboration will focus on MDRNA's proprietary delivery system for systemic delivery in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

"Today we announced an early collaborative effort with AstraZeneca's Innovation Center in China," stated Michael French, President and CEO at MDRNA, Inc. "This marks the third collaboration we have announced in the past nine months and we continue to believe we are well on our way to meeting our goal of completing two major collaborations by year-end."

About MDRNA Technology

UsiRNAs are MDRNA's proprietary constructs in which Unlocked Nucleobase Analogs (UNA) strategically replace ribonucleotides, and are distinct from standard siRNAs. Placement of UNA in the passenger strand specifically blocks the activity of this strand to function in RNAi, thus decreasing off-target activity. Placement of UNA within the guide strand confers greater specificity upon RNAi by inhibiting micro-RNA-like effects. UsiRNAs have been demonstrated to be highly active models of metabolic disorders and cancer, and function by RNAi to cleave their mRNA target.

DiLA2 delivery platform is MDRNA's proprietary platform for creating novel delivery systems based on di-alkylated amino acids (DiLA2). The DiLA2 platform enables MDRNA to tailor the charge, linker length, and acyl chain characteristics to improve delivery to target tissue of interest. In vivo studies have demonstrated effective delivery in models of cancer, metabolic disorders, and other diseases. DiLA2 based delivery is well tolerated in systemic and local administration, and in rodent and non-human primates. MDRNA is also utilizing condensing peptides to form peptide-siRNA nanoparticles to further increase the delivery efficiency of its DiLA2 delivery systems.

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 oncology. 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

MDRNA Forward-Looking Statements

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 to obtain additional funding; (ii) the ability of MDRNA to attract and/or maintain manufacturing, research, development and commercialization partners; (iii) the ability of MDRNA and/or a partner to successfully complete product research and development, including preclinical and clinical studies and commercialization; (iv) the ability of MDRNA and/or a partner to obtain required governmental approvals; and (v) the ability of MDRNA 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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