Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation announced research collaboration with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) using Tekmira's SNALP technology to deliver small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to specific organs and tissues outside of the liver.

The relationship between Tekmira and Bristol-Myers Squibb builds upon earlier work conducted at Bristol-Myers Squibb using siRNA delivery technology provided by privately held Protiva Biotherapeutics Inc. In May, Protiva and Tekmira combined their businesses to create a leader in the field of RNAi (RNA interference) therapeutics.

Dr Mark J Murray, Tekmira's president and CEO, said, "Our relationship with Bristol-Myers Squibb is consistent with our strategy to work with global pharmaceutical leaders to expand the therapeutic potential of our leading RNAi delivery technology. At the same time, this work compliments our internal product development initiatives as we advance our own RNAi therapeutics to treat serious human diseases."

The initial collaboration between Bristol-Myers Squibb and Protiva focused on validating certain gene targets using small interfering RNAs provided by Bristol-Myers Squibb and employed a number of different stable nucleic-acid lipid particle (SNALP) formulations. SNALP is Tekmira's proprietary lipid nanoparticle technology for the delivery of RNAi drugs, including siRNAs.

RNAi drugs have the potential to treat human diseases by "switching-off" disease causing genes. The technology, representing one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug discovery, was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi drugs, such as siRNA, require delivery technology to be administered systemically. In preclinical studies, Tekmira's SNALP (stable nucleic acid-lipid particles) technology has been shown to be a safe and effective way to deliver RNAi drugs to disease sites. Tekmira believes it has a leading intellectual property position in the field of siRNA delivery.

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company focused on advancing novel RNAi therapeutics and providing its leading lipid nanoparticle delivery technology to pharmaceutical partners.