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RXi Pharmaceuticals Announces Remarkable and Positive Results with its Novel Self-Delivering RNAi Platform: Potent Reduction of Long Non-coding RNAs Demonstrated in Collaboration with Biogazelle

MARLBOROUGH, Mass., Oct. 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation RXII, +8.75% a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing innovative therapies primarily in the areas of dermatology and ophthalmology today announced positive results from a collaboration with Biogazelle NV. Biogazelle is a company with a longstanding track record and internationally recognized expertise in RNA gene expression analysis, with a particular focus on non-coding RNA, such as microRNAs and long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA).

Specifically-designed sd-rxRNAs based on RXi's proprietary, self-delivering RNAi platform demonstrated robust and potent reduction of the levels of lncRNAs in a target specific manner. These findings expand the number of potential genes RXi is capable of targeting by approximately four fold.

Dr. Craig Mello, Chairman of RXi Pharmaceuticals' Scientific Advisory Board and co-recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Medicine for RNAi, said that, "This discovery is a significant advancement for RXi's proprietary self-delivering RNA platform. lncRNAs represent a diverse class of promising therapeutic targets. Currently, researchers must use multiple oligonucleotide platforms to reduce expression of lncRNAs depending on the subcellular localization of the target. Biogazelle's findings suggest that RXi's technology can efficiently silence lncRNAs regardless of their subcellular localization."

lncRNAs are a diverse class of non-protein coding RNA molecules that are greater than 200 nucleotides in length. lncRNAs are involved in crucial cellular processes, including the regulation of gene expression, and have been implicated in many diseases and disorders, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurological disorders, diabetes, and HIV.

"When we began the collaboration with RXi, we were intrigued by their self-delivering RNAi technology, which offers a clear advantage over conventional siRNAs. Many lncRNAs are believed to be primarily located in the nucleus and considering siRNAs are not expected to reduce the expression of nuclear lncRNAs, we did not believe the platform would be competitive with other nucleic acid-based technologies, such as antisense oligonucleotides," said Professor Jo Vandesompele, CSO of Biogazelle. He further added that, "Remarkably, the sd-rxRNA platform demonstrated potent and target-specific silencing of multiple lncRNAs, including lncRNAs that are strictly localized in the nucleus, such as MALAT1. We're considering RXi's self-delivering platform for therapeutic applications in the future. "

"We greatly appreciate the thorough work that Biogazelle has done in screening our sd-rxRNA compounds against lncRNA targets and we look forward to working with Biogazelle in the future," said Dr. Geert Cauwenbergh, President and CEO of RXi Pharmaceuticals. He added that, "These results constitute a major boost to the value of our self-delivering platform by significantly expanding the breadth of therapeutic targets we can now pursue. This opens up additional business development...