Merck to acquire Sirna

Pushing itself further into the growing RNAi market, Merck

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WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J.—Pushing itself further into the growing RNAi market, Merck announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Sirna Therapeutics. The deal will see the smaller biotech company become a fully owned subsidiary of the pharma giant in a $1.1-billion move.
"RNAi is a powerful enabler of drug discovery in cells, in animals, and in humans," said Dr. Stephen H. Friend, EVP and franchise head for oncology and neuroscience at Merck Research Laboratories. "We can potentially use this technology to target the activity of genes which control the activity of cancer cells, and so produce their destruction without damaging normal cells."
Merck has been aggressive in the RNAi marketplace, which according to a recent report by Frost & Sullivan, is expected to reach almost $300 million by 2012, having signed several development deals with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. [Look to the December issue of Drug Discovery News for more about this deal.]

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