A world leader in the development of RNA interface-based therapies, Quark Pharmaceuticals Inc yesterday entered into a deal with Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, which gives the latter an option to obtain worldwide license to develop and commercialize its novel drug QPI-1002 for acute kidney injury.
Under the terms, Novartis will initially pay Quark a non-refundable $10 million, and further on exercising its option, would pay approximately $670 million as fees and milestone payments. Quark would also be entitled to potential royalties on sales of licensed products.
Fremont, California-based Quark is a pharmaceutical company that is a leader in the discovery and development of novel RNAi-based therapies. It has the largest clinical-stage small interfering RNA (siRNA) pipeline in the industry targeting tissues and organs including the eye, kidney, ear, lung, spinal cord and brain.
The company has its research and development facilities in Colorado and Ness-Ziona in Israel.
RNAi is a system within living cells that helps to control genes, and siRNA is a class of RNA molecules which are used to silence the expression of a specific gene, and thereby holding a strong potential for gene therapy.
Quark's QPI-1002 is the first synthetic siRNA to be administered to humans. The drug completed phase 1 studies and currently it is a subject of phase 2 clinical trial. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) have granted 'Orphan' status for QPI-1002 for the treatment of delayed graft function in kidney transplant patients.