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PALO ALTO, Calif.—Biotechnology company Silence Therapeutics PLC has announced its plans to merge with Intradigm Corp., in a bid to build a leading position in delivery technologies for experimental medicines based on RNA interference.
According to Silence Therapeutics officials, the combined company's platform of technologies will make it a more attractive partner for major pharmaceutical companies interested in getting into the fledgling science of RNA interference, or RNAi.
In particular, the combined business will be able to offer potential partners a choice of technologies to deliver RNAi molecules to diseased tissue, one of the main challenges in the emerging field of RNAi therapeutics. In addition, the enlarged Silence Therapeutics will have the financial strength to exploit its technology by developing its own therapeutic candidates.
Iain Ross, currently chairman of Silence Therapeutics, will remain as chairman of the enlarged company. Philip Haworth, CEO of Intradigm, will become CEO of Silence Therapeutics, and Klaus Giese will continue as chief scientific officer of Silence Therapeutics.
"By bringing together a comprehensive platform of siRNA delivery and development technologies, we believe Silence Therapeutics will be a partner of choice for those seeking to develop RNAi therapeutics," says Ross. "With a strengthened balance sheet, experienced management and extended research capability, Silence Therapeutics is well placed to strike the development deals that will deliver value for shareholders."
Haworth says his company is looking forward to joining forces with Silence Therapeutics and continuing the pursuit of valuable RNAi therapeutics as part of this new team.
"Perhaps most exciting about the merger is the powerful range of RNAi delivery technology solutions possessed by the new company," he adds. "The most significant hurdle to be overcome in realizing the vast potential of RNAi therapeutics is that of enabling safe and effective delivery of siRNA payloads. By combining the impressive expertise of both Intradigm and Silence, we now have one of the industry's most comprehensive and versatile delivery technology platforms, providing the enlarged company with an unparalleled potential to develop delivery solutions that can be tailored to address various therapeutic requirements."
Silence Therapeutics will issue nearly 80 million of its ordinary shares to acquire the entire share capital of Intradigm. Upon completion of the transaction, Intradigm's shareholders and management will own 36.6 percent of the enlarged group. The completion of the proposed acquisition is contingent upon approval by Silence Therapeutics' shareholders.