Nastech Pharmaceutical Company Inc. (Nasdaq: NSTK) announced today the appointment of a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) for MDRNA, Inc., its wholly-owned subsidiary for the development of RNAi technology and therapeutics. The SAB, initially comprised of three noted scientists and clinicians, will provide critical scientific and medical input on MDRNA’s strategic direction.
“The formation of such a strong Scientific Advisory Board speaks to our commitment to the highest quality scientific, technological, and clinical effort in the RNAi space,” stated Steven C. Quay, Chairman and CEO of Nastech. “We are particularly pleased to have attracted such prominent scientists, physicians and opinion leaders to our SAB. Their experience, perspectives and insights will play an integral role as we advance our technology and product candidates through pre-clinical and clinical development. Additional members will be added in the near term to augment the strengths of the SAB.”
The Scientific Advisory Board appointees include:
Roger D. Kornberg, Ph.D.
Dr. Kornberg is a professor of structural biology and the Mrs. George A. Winzer Professor in Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine where his research is focused on understanding the fundamental workings of gene regulation.
Prof. Kornberg was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his seminal studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription, the biological process by which genetic information from DNA is copied to RNA.
From 1984 to 1992, Dr. Kornberg served as chair of the Department of Structural Biology at Stanford. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to the Nobel Prize, Prof. Kornberg has been honored for his work with the Eli Lilly Award, the Passano Award, the Ciba-Drew Award, the Gairdner International Award (shared with R. Roeder), the Hoppe-Seyler Lecture Award, the Harvey Prize from the Technion (Israel Institute of Technology), the ASBMB-Merck Award, the Pasarow Award in Cancer Research, the Le Grand Prix Charles-Leopold Mayer, and the 2005 Alfred P. Sloan Jr. Prize.
Dr. Kornberg earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University. Following postdoctoral work at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England, he joined the scientific staff there. He later became part of the faculty in the Department of Biological Chemistry at Harvard Medical School and eventually returned to Stanford as professor of structural biology. His recent honors include the General Motors Cancer Research Foundation’s Alfred P. Sloan Jr. Prize, the Pasarow Award in Cancer Research from the Pasarow Foundation, and Le Grand Prix Charles-Leopold Mayer from the Académie des Sciences in France. He also is a co-recipient of the Merck Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Kornberg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Carl Novina, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Novina is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, an Assistant Professor of Cancer Immunology/AIDS at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an Associate member at the Broad Institute. His research focuses on investigating the mechanisms and applications of mammalian RNAi. To discover the biological roles of microRNAs and their interacting proteins, his group has developed cell-free, microRNA-dependent translational gene silencing reactions and cell-based reporter systems for translational repression and mRNA cleavage by microRNAs. His laboratory is engaged in collaborative projects to profile microRNA expression as well as microRNA and RNAi factor gene loci, in an effort to understand the roles of microRNAs in cancer, including hematopoietic and solid tumors.
Dr. Novina received his M.D. from Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons in 2000 and his Ph.D. from Tufts University, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences in 1998. He did his graduate studies on transcriptional regulation of TATA-less promoters by TFII-I in Dr. Ananda Roy’s laboratory. Dr. Novina did his postdoctoral training in Dr. Phillip Sharp’s laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology investigating small RNA-directed gene silencing.
James E. Rothman, Ph.D.
Professor James Rothman is the Clyde and Helen Wu Professor of Chemical Biology and Director of Columbia University’s Judith P. Sulzberger, MD Genome Center. He is renowned for discovering the molecular machinery responsible for transfer of materials among compartments within cells.
Dr. Rothman has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of this work, including the King Faisal International Prize for Science (1996), the Gairdner Foundation International Award (1996), the Lounsbery Award of the National Academy of Sciences (1997), the Heineken Foundation Prize of the Netherlands Academy of Sciences (2000), the Louisa Gross Horwitz prize of Columbia University (2002), and the Lasker Award (2002). He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences (1993) and its Institute of Medicine (1995), and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1994).
Dr. Rothman received his Ph.D. degree in biological chemistry from Harvard Medical School in 1976. He also attended Harvard Medical School from 1971 to 1973. From 1976 to 1978, he completed a fellowship in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1978 to 1988, he was a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at Stanford University. Dr. Rothman was the E.R. Squibb Professor of Molecular Biology at Princeton University (1988-1991). Prior to coming to Columbia in 2004, Dr. Rothman founded and chaired the Department of Cellular Biochemistry and Biophysics at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center which he joined in 1991 as the Paul Marks Chair and where he also served as Vice-Chairman of Sloan-Kettering.
About RNA Interference (RNAi)
RNA interference, or RNAi, is a cellular mechanism that can be used to turn off the production of a protein by using small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). siRNAs are double-stranded RNA molecules that are able to silence a gene in a sequence-specific manner by degradation of the target messenger RNA. In the case of an siRNA directed against influenza, the target is one or more genes that encode proteins critical for viral replication. If siRNAs are successful at turning off the production of such proteins, the spread of infection would be prevented or slowed. Nastech's RNAi research and development programs seek to develop safe and effective therapeutics by identifying key protein targets, designing the siRNA that will turn off the production of the targeted proteins, and developing a formulation for the delivery of this potential new class of therapeutics.
About MDRNA, Inc.
MDRNA, a company developing innovative products based on RNA-based technologies, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nastech. Discovery of the biological process of RNA interference (RNAi) garnered the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2006, and holds tremendous potential as a basis for human therapeutics. Nastech began work on RNAi in 2002 and has assigned its intellectual property, as it relates to the development of RNA-based therapeutics, to MDRNA in order to bring greater focus on the development of RNA-based technologies and enhance shareholder value arising from this exciting new field. Additional information about MDRNA is available at http://www.mdrnainc.com.
Nastech is a biopharmaceutical company developing innovative products based on proprietary molecular biology-based drug delivery technologies. Nastech and our collaboration partners are developing products for multiple therapeutic areas including osteoporosis, obesity, diabetes, autism, respiratory diseases and inflammatory conditions. Additional information about Nastech is available at http://www.nastech.com.
Nastech Forward-Looking Statements
Statements made in this press release may be forward-looking statements within the meaning of Federal Securities laws that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and involve factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: (i) the ability of Nastech or a subsidiary to obtain additional funding; (ii) the ability of Nastech or a subsidiary to attract and/or maintain manufacturing, research, development and commercialization partners; (iii) the ability of Nastech, a subsidiary and/or a partner to successfully complete product research and development, including preclinical and clinical studies and commercialization; (iv) the ability of Nastech, a subsidiary and/or a partner to obtain required governmental approvals; and (v) the ability of Nastech, a subsidiary and/or a partner to develop and commercialize products that can compete favorably with those of competitors. Additional factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected or suggested in any forward-looking statements are contained in Nastech's most recent periodic reports on Form 10-K and Form 10-Q that are filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Nastech assumes no obligation to update and supplement forward-looking statements because of subsequent events.