Merck, Protiva make nice

Seemingly spending more time in court rooms than laboratories, Protiva Biotherapeutics

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VANCOUVER—Seemingly spending more time in court rooms than laboratories, Protiva Biotherapeutics announced it has granted Merck a non-exclusive license to its stable nucleic acid-lipid particles (SNALP) platform for ongoing RNAi research and development, bringing to an end the Canadian company's wrangling with Merck subsidiary Sirna Therapeutics. While financial details were not disclosed, Protiva will receive a one-time payment from Merck as well as milestone and royalty payments on any product candidates that may develop.
"Merck's licensing of our 'SNALP' technology is an important validation of the skill of our scientific team and our leadership position in the siRNA delivery space," says Dr. Mark Murray, Protiva president and CEO. "Protiva is moving forward with financial strength and a continued focus on the development of new therapeutic products and business alliances."
In April, Protiva had secured a preliminary injunction in the California Superior Court prohibiting Sirna from using Protiva's technology in its RNAi discovery efforts. Practically thoughout 2006, Protiva spent time in the same court battling Inex Pharmaceuticals for what Protiva saw as the unlawful spin-out of its technology into Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, an Inex spin-off. Protiva dismissed that case, without prejudice, in December 2006 to pursue the Sirna case.

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