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December 2009
by Lori Lesko  |  Email the author


UTRECHT, the NetherlandsóCancer-fighting Dutch firm InteRNA Technologies BV has partnered with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute of Boston by entering into a research agreement to develop microRNA (miRNA)-based therapeutics for cancer patients. The financial arrangement between the two companies was not disclosed.


Under the research collaboration with Associate Professor Dr. William C. Hahn of the Department of Medical Oncology, InteRNA's unique lentiviral-based miRNA overexpression library will be applied in multi-parametric, high-throughput functional screening assays to identify the biological role of individual miRNAs and novel therapeutic targets in diverse cancer pathways. 


"We are very excited about this collaboration with Dr. Hahn, a renowned cancer investigator, and the Dana-Farber, as it allows for functional screens in diverse cell-based assays embedded in a lab with extensive knowledge of cancer," says Roel

Schaapveld, CEO of InteRNA Technologies.


The partnership between the Dutch and U.S. facilities proves to be a painstaking process.

"We approached Dana-Farber to jointly work on functional screens with our miRNA overexpression library (lentiviral-based) to identify the biological role in cancer for each individual miRNA in the library," Schaapveld says.


Schaapveld was reluctant to discuss the nuts and bolts of the research or specific process, and he declined to break down its miRNA technology or shed light on the roles assigned to each partner.


Hahn says that InteRNA's "functional screens hold great promise to help us better understand the roles of miRNAs in cancer and to identify potential treatment targets.


"Under this sponsored research agreement, Dana-Farber will investigate a microRNA expression library provided by the company, with an aim to validate potential microRNA targets," Hahn says.


The agreement specifies that Dana-Farber will own the inventions its faculty develops, and InteRNA will own the inventions its employees develop. Joint inventions will be jointly owned. The collaborative agreement includes an option for InteRNA to negotiate a license to Dana-Farber's interests in the inventions.


InteRNA Technologies actively explores and exploits opportunities to translate its collection of miRNAs and miRNA discovery and validation technologies into successful diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic applications. The company's primary focus is to unravel the role of its proprietary miRNAs in cancer.


InteRNA Technologies was incorporated in 2006 by Aglaia Oncology Fund and has established close relationships with the research groups of its founders Dr. Edwin Cuppen, and Dr. Eugene Berezikov of the Hubrecht Institute, also located in Utrecht and a leading scientific group in the field of miRNA research.


Since its founding in 1947, Dana-Farber has been committed to providing cancer patients with the best treatment available today while developing tomorrow's cures through cutting-edge research, according to the institute's Web site. Dana-Farber's mission is to provide expert, compassionate care to children and adults with cancer while advancing the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of cancer and related diseases. Recognizing that the opportunity to conquer cancer is within reach, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has launched a $1 billion comprehensive capital campaignóthe largest and most ambitious fundraising campaign in its history, the institute states. 
Code: E120917



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