RXi Pharmaceuticals Corp., a leader in RNAi-based therapeutic discovery and development, recently announced RXI-109 as its first RNAi therapeutic product candidate to advance into development.

RXI–109 is a self-delivering RNAi compound designed to reduce dermal scarring in planned surgeries. The company notes scar prevention and reduction as an unmet therapeutic medical need with a potential market of up to $4 billion a year.

Anti-scarring, or anti-fibrotic treatments, are being developed to not only address the cosmetic issues of scarring, but also to treat other medical conditions where excess scarring and/or fibrosis may occur, and might possibly be painful.

“Dermal anti-scarring is an excellent match for RXi’s expertise and our novel RNAi therapeutic platform,” Anastasia Khvorova, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at RXi stated in the press release. “The disease biology is well understood, the targets are well validated, and intradermal injection is an acceptable administration route. Preclinical results using intradermal injection of sd-rxRNAs demonstrate robust, dose dependent, long lasting target specific silencing. This is a very exciting time for the company, and we look forward to advancing this program and filing an IND in the second half of 2011.”

Dermal anti-scarring is a leading indicator for RXi and represents an area of significant unmet medical need, with no approved drugs.

Noah D. Beerman, president and CEO of RXi, noted the significance of the selection of the candidate and the company’s focus on future industry partnerships.

“Selecting this first development candidate is a significant milestone for RXi and demonstrates the company’s commitment to achieving our corporate goals and executing on our strategy,” Beerman stated. “In early June, we designated dermal anti-scarring and retinal disorders as core focus areas and throughout 2010 we have made substantial progress in transitioning RXi from a research-focused company to one that is leveraging our strategy, platform and collaborations to advance our therapeutic pipeline. In addition to accomplishing our goal of nominating RXI-109 as our first development candidate, our partnering efforts also remain a priority for the company, and we are focused on completing a corporate partnership, which we anticipate being able to execute on in the coming months.”

For more information visit www.rxipharma.com