Tranzyme has received funding of approximately $150,000 from the N.C. Biotechnology Center to study “gene silencing.”

The non-profit center awarded the funding through its Small Business Research Award Program, which supports novel research leading to the development or refinement of a product or process with large commercial potential.

RTP-based Tranzyme will use the funds from this program to accelerate applications of its gene delivery technology, knowns as TranzVector, in the area of gene silencing.

“Our support of Tranzyme is consistent with our tradition of providing North Carolina’s biotechnology companies with funding to develop breakthrough research for commercialization,” said Ken Tindall, senior vice president of science and business development for the N.C. Biotech Center. “–We are glad to provide Tranzyme this support towards their success. The Biotechnology Center recognizes that gene silencing is a major technical advance in functional genomics research.”

As announced earlier this year, Tranzyme has partnered with Benitec Ltd. of Australia to silence genes through the long-term and stable expression of siRNA, with TranzVector enabling gene silencing in mammalian cells.

“The recent demonstration of RNAi activity in mammalian cells has added an important facet to functional biology by providing the ability to specifically knock down the expression of selected genes; however, the power of this novel technology cannot be fully realized without delivering siRNA to clinically relevant cell types,” said Ram Ramabhadran, senior VP of research and development for Tranzyme. “Combining the RNAi technology with the efficient delivery capabilities of TranzVector will enable the full exploitation of RNAi for drug discovery.”

A privately held drug discovery and development company, Tranzyme is focused on the treatment of diseases associated with the neurosensory system including the eye, the ear and the brain. It has developed a proprietary functional biology platform based on gene delivery and controlled expression.

Tranzyme is leveraging its technology through partnerships and internal programs to drive the discovery and development of novel therapeutics. The company has already established a dozen strategic partnerships around the world and has secured access to a number of important therapeutic targets and lead compounds for neurosensory diseases.

Earlier this year, Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories of Japan made a $1 million investment in Tranzyme, and Research Triangle Ventures funded a $1.3 million second-round of financing. The company also won a $500,000 grant from the Institute for the Study of Aging to fight Alzheimer’s disease.


N.C. Biotech Center: