Protiva Biotherapeutics Inc.

Protiva Biotherapeutics Inc.

April 16, 2007 09:02 ET

Protiva Biotherapeutics Inc.: California Superior Court Grants Preliminary Injunction Prohibiting Sirna From Using Protiva Technology

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(CCNMatthews - April 16, 2007) - Protiva Biotherapeutics Inc. today reported that the California Superior Court has granted Protiva a preliminary injunction prohibiting Sirna Therapeutics Inc. from using, disclosing, transferring, licensing, selling or otherwise encumbering Protiva's trade secrets and know how, except as permitted in the target areas defined in the original Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) between the two companies.

The injunction took effect April 12th, 2007. The matter is scheduled to go to a jury trial to commence by November 2007. At trial, Protiva will be seeking the return of its intellectual property, any products derived from it and damages to remedy Sirna's wrongful use and disclosure of Protiva's intellectual property. Sirna was acquired by Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK) in December 2006 for US$1.1 billion.

In his ruling, Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Mahoney said, "It is the conclusion of the court that Sirna has used and may be continuing to use Protiva trade secrets and know-how and that Protiva is likely to prevail on its claim of anticipatory breach of the SAA."

"The court's ruling validates what we have said from the beginning: that Sirna misappropriated Protiva's intellectual property and breached its agreement with us," said Protiva's President and CEO Dr. Mark Murray. "We are now actively preparing for trial where we are confident we will prevail. We are committed to protecting our intellectual property, the hard work of our employees and the value we have created for our shareholders."

Specifically, the court has enjoined Sirna from engaging in "product development in connection with the delivery of siRNA" and "from using any of the confidential and proprietary information (it) received from Protiva" except in two areas narrowly defined in the original agreement or SAA. A copy of the Judge's decision is available online at If Protiva prevails at trial, the preliminary injunction will be made permanent and, in addition, Sirna will be enjoined from the continued development in the two areas mentioned above.

RNA interference, which relies on the use of specifically designed siRNA molecules, is a technology with the potential for treating many diseases with a genetic basis, and as well for treating such medically significant diseases as cancer, HIV, influenza, ebola virus infections and metabolic conditions like high cholesterol.

In March 2006, Protiva filed suit against Sirna in California Superior Court for, among other things, breach of contract, intentional misrepresentation, misappropriation of trade secrets, unfair competition, unjust enrichment and fraud.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, LLP is legal counsel to Protiva in this matter.

About Protiva

Founded in 2001, Protiva Biotherapeutics Inc. is focused on the development of nucleic acid based pharmaceutical products to fight serious human diseases, such as cancer, influenza (including H5N1), Ebola, inflammatory diseases and other chronic viral infections. Protiva's proprietary Stable Nucleic-Acid Lipid Particle (SNALP) technology is an encapsulation and delivery system for nucleic acid payloads, such as short interfering RNA (siRNA), to target cells. It represents a breakthrough in the field of RNA interference.

Protiva is headquartered in Vancouver, B.C. with offices in Seattle, Washington. For more information, visit

Contact Information

  • Protiva Biotherapeutics Inc.
    Mark J. Murray, Ph.D.
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    Vancouver: (604) 630-5063
    Longview Communications Inc.
    David Ryan
    Media contact
    (604) 694-6031