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Quark Pharmaceuticals Signs Collaboration Agreement With University of Michigan for Development of Proprietary SiRNA Compounds f

Quark Expands Hearing Loss Program With Novel SiRNA Approaches To Noise-Induced Hearing Loss With Its First Drug Candidate, AHLI-11, For The Prevention Of Chemotherapy-Induced Hearing Loss In Late Pre-IND Stage

FREMONT, Calif., Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel RNA interference-based therapeutics, announced today that it has signed a collaboration agreement with the University of Michigan Kresge Hearing Research Institute (www.khri.med.umich.edu/) to begin pre-clinical studies of several new siRNA compounds for the treatment of acute hearing loss associated with acoustic (noise-induced) trauma through the inhibition of Quark's novel targets. These pre-clinical studies will be led by Professor Yehoash Raphael, Ph.D., Department of Otolaryngology at the University of Michigan.

These studies will target several different siRNA-based drug candidates that work by way of inhibition of Quark's proprietary target genes for the prevention and treatment of acoustic trauma-induced acute hearing loss. The multi-stage, animal model study will assess the ability to deliver these
siRNA compounds to relevant cochlear cells in the inner ear. The efficacy of the selected siRNA compounds before and after acoustic trauma, the residence time of siRNA in the inner ear cells, and the duration of the therapeutic siRNA effect will also be primary focuses of the studies.

Daniel Zurr, CEO of Quark Pharmaceuticals, commented, "The establishment of this significant research collaboration with the University of Michigan enables us to expand our research program aimed at preventing and treating hearing loss. With an estimated 28 million Americans having some degree of hearing loss, this is a significant medical issue in the United States and throughout the world. Moreover, hearing loss is an under-diagnosed and under- treated health issue. Quark continues to draw on its expertise in the development of siRNA-based therapeutics and we continue to broaden our pipeline portfolio to include new drug candidates that act by way of inhibiting our novel targets for this disease and an increasing number of indications with unmet medical needs."

Quark Pharmaceuticals expects to file an IND before the end of 2007 for its first hearing loss drug candidate, AHLi-11, for the prevention of cisplatin (a chemotherapeutic agent) induced ototoxic hearing loss.

About Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing novel therapeutics based on its proprietary gene discovery science and technology, with an initial focus on drug candidates that work through the natural mechanism in the cell known as RNA interference, or RNAi, for the treatment of diseases associated with oxidative stress. Quark believes that its proprietary target gene discovery platform, BiFAR(TM), combined with its ability to design and successfully deliver synthetic molecules of the new class of RNAi therapeutics known as small-interfering RNA, or siRNA, to specific organs in the body, enables the Company to rapidly develop drug candidates.

Quark has two internally discovered and developed lead product candidates: RTP801i-14 in phase 1 clinical trial for the treatment of wet age-related macular degeneration, and AKIi-5 for the prevention of acute renal failure.

The Company has licensed RTP801i-14 to Pfizer on an exclusive worldwide basis. Quark has, in addition, a product candidate portfolio of RNAi therapeutics based on novel targets and therapeutic concepts discovered using BiFAR(TM) and designed for the treatment of oxidative stress associated diseases of the inner ear, lungs and additional organs of the body.

Quark is headquartered in Fremont, California and operates research and development facilities in Boulder, Colorado and Ness-Ziona, Israel.

Additional information is available at www.quarkpharma.com

Taken from: www.prnewswire.com

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