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Thursday, November 09, 2006

RNAi For Dummies

If you learn that 2 plus 2 equals 4 and someone gives you two nickels and two quarters, do you have 4 of anything? RNAi is like this. Does siRNA plus disease equal cure? Are we missing some details here.

I happen to think that when someone takes the time to discuss the details we should listen. The CEO of Nastech took the time today in the form of a webinar. At the end there was a Q and A session. Here is what I learned. It is the third great leap in biotechnology. Number one was cloning, two was monoclonal antibodies and number three is RNAi. Small molecule drugs bring in over 175 billion per year from over 1000 products. Monoclonals bring in 40 billion form 200 products. RNAi brings in zero dollars from zero products. However, RNAi is potentially trillions of times more potent than monoclonal antibodies. The major issue facing biotechnology is the delivery of the RNA to the RISC complex inside of the cell. Nastech has a delivery peptide (PN73) that modulates tight junctions and could be used to deliver RNAi.

The webinar was a humorous example of a businessman talking to his investors. The businessman seemed to have a need to educate his investors, so he presented what I call RNAi for Dummies. After the one hour lecture it was Q and A time. I was curious like a child. How does it get inside the body? How long does it last and where does it go when it's done working? What does PN73 do to a tight junction protein? But here is what the class wanted to know.

1) Will Nastech be receiving more NIH money?
2) What else does Nastech do?
3) What are the timelines for filing INDs?
4) Is the board open to an acquisition like Mercks acquisition of Sirna.
5) When will you file for an IND?

If you want to be successful in biotechnology you have to be prepared to ask the tough question. When do we start making our money?

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