12:00 AM
Feb 17, 2003
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Ribozyme: Find an idea and fix it

On paper, the idea for Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals Inc. looked good. The company was founded in 1992 to develop ribozyme technology licensed from Nobel Prize winner Thomas Cech. The theory was that these naturally occurring RNA fragments that act as enzymes could be designed to recognize, bind and digest any disease-causing mRNA. But it turned out that the technology was far from ready for commercialization, and more than a decade later the company had little to show for the nearly $200 million it spent, except a microscopic market value of just over $5 million.
The unusual deal was shaped by lead investors Sprout, Venrock, and Oxford BioScience on the condition that RZYM refocus its development activities on RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics. The investors, which put in $23 million, $10 million and $7.8 million respectively, may name up to four directors. RZYM said it now plans to reverse-split its shares, and will...

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