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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Free Government Money for Drugs!!!

BOTHELL, Wash., Sept. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Nastech Pharmaceutical Company Inc. announced today that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), awarded the Company a $1.9 million Research Project (R01) grant. This award combined with an earlier SBIR Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant award brings total program funding to approximately $2.3 million from the NIH that will be used to further develop the Company's small-interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics to prevent and treat influenza. A grant for additional program funding is still pending.

Last year Nastech Pharmaceutical Company CEO, Steven Quay brought home nearly 9.5 million dollars. The company has a market valuation of over 300 million. Nastech hopes to find a major partner to fund the development of an RNAi therapeutic approach to fighting flu. So why did the NIAID give them 2.3 million dollars? How much more are they asking for?

Last week Nastech filed a shelf registration statement on Form S-3 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), pursuant to which Nastech may issue commonstock from time to time, up to an aggregate of $125 million.

Why is the NIAID giving Nastech money? Nastech has lots of money. They are in business to make money, but not necessarily drugs. Nastech has been in existance for over 20 years and has produced only one product, which was sold for 18 million dollars in 2003. That product was a vitamin B-12 gel. Not exactly a cutting edge breakthrough. Considering this lack of productivity and the problems Nastech ran into last year with their PYY and calcitonin programs, should we be paying to help a publicly traded biotech company fund their for profit research? Considering that the anti-influenza RNAi drug program began at MIT before becoming patent protected at Galenea, why is the federal government still funding this research?


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