BOTHELL, Wash., March 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Nastech Pharmaceutical
Company Inc. (Nasdaq: NSTK), a leader in developing therapeutics using
advanced molecular biology based drug delivery technologies, announced today
the presentation of results demonstrating the effectiveness of the Company's
small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics to broadly target and inhibit
influenza viral production at the 8th International Symposium on Respiratory
Viral Infections Conference.
In vitro and in vivo results were presented for siRNAs that are
specifically designed to target conserved regions of the influenza viral
genome. We believe that targeting the conserved regions could enable a siRNA
therapeutic to be effective against both current and future strains of the
influenza virus, which is essential in stockpiling a treatment for rapid
mobilization during an influenza pandemic. In vitro screening results
identified highly potent siRNAs with IC50 values between 20 and 500 pM that
were effective against representative human and avian influenza strains,
including H5N1 avian influenza virus.
Furthermore, in vivo results demonstrate that direct-to-lung and
intravenous administrations of selected proprietary formulations of siRNAs
effectively inhibit influenza viral production in a preclinical model. A
200-fold reduction of viral concentration in the blood was observed.
"Nastech's goal is to rapidly develop a safe and effective treatment that
is broadly applicable against current and future influenza strains so that the
medical community can be better prepared for an influenza pandemic, which has
become an impending threat to worldwide public health," stated Steven C. Quay,
M.D., Ph.D., Chairman, President and CEO of Nastech. "The results presented by
Nastech demonstrate the effective inhibition of influenza virus production by
a siRNA therapeutic and further validate Nastech's advanced delivery
technology and siRNA therapeutic development capabilities."
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in a typical year,
influenza infects 5 - 15% of the world's population, resulting in 250,000 to
500,000 deaths. The WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
are concerned about the potential for a major global pandemic such as the 1918
"Spanish flu" in which up to 50 million people may have died worldwide.
Pandemic flu emerges from a sudden change in the influenza virus that results
in a new flu strain, against which there is no immunity. Vaccines currently
represent the mainstay of flu prevention, but vaccines have two key
limitations. First, they are developed against individual, known strains of
flu and therefore may not be effective against new flu strains. Second,
vaccines are produced using a lengthy process requiring incubation in chicken
eggs, thus vaccine against a new flu strain will take months or years to
stockpile. Antiviral medications approved to treat influenza have the
potential drawback that influenza virus strains can become resistant to one or
more of these medications. The potential advantage of RNAi antiviral
therapeutics is that siRNA can be targeted against the conserved region of the
influenza virus. This means that an RNAi therapeutic would be expected to be
effective against all strains of the influenza virus, whether new or old.
Therefore stockpiling of an effective RNAi treatment is possible in advance of
a global influenza pandemic. In addition to a potential role in a pandemic
flu outbreak, RNAi therapeutics could serve as a treatment for the more common
seasonal flu that as noted above can result in hospitalization and death.
About RNA Interference (RNAi)
RNA interference, or RNAi, is a cellular mechanism that can be used to
turn off the production of a protein. In the case of an RNAi directed against
influenza, the target is one or more proteins critical for viral replication.
By turning off the production of such proteins, the spread of infection is
prevented or slowed. Nastech's RNAi research and development programs seek to
develop safe and effective therapeutics by identifying key protein targets,
designing the siRNA that will turn off the production of the targeted
proteins, and developing a formulation for the systemic delivery of this
potential new class of therapeutics.
Nastech is a pharmaceutical company developing innovative products based
on proprietary molecular biology-based drug delivery technologies. Nastech and
our collaboration partners are developing products for multiple therapeutic
areas including respiratory disease, inflammatory conditions, obesity and
osteoporosis. Additional information about Nastech is available at
Nastech Forward Looking Statements
Statements made in this press 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 Nastech to obtain
additional funding; (ii) the ability of Nastech to attract and/or maintain
manufacturing, research, development and commercialization partners; (iii)
Nastech's and/or a partner's ability to successfully complete product research
and development, including preclinical and clinical studies and
commercialization; (iv) Nastech's and/or a partner's ability to obtain
required governmental approvals; and (v) Nastech's and/or a partner's ability
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 Nastech's most recent periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form
10-Q that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Nastech
assumes no obligation to update and supplement forward-looking statements
because of subsequent events.
Nastech Pharmaceutical Company Inc.
Senior Investor Relations Manager
Matthew Haines (Investors/Media)
SOURCE Nastech Pharmaceutical Company Inc.
Web site: http://www.nastech.com
03/16/2006 07:00 EST http://www.prnewswire.com