Small interfering RNA (siRNA) is a type of genetic medicine, which has potential to silence or knock down any over-expressed gene in a disease. It is also called short interfering RNA. These RNAs are widely used to evaluate the specific contribution of genes to a variety of cellular phenotypes including apoptosis, insulin signaling, cytokinesis, and cell differentiation. They are employed to recognize novel pathways and have a meaningful impact in validating targets for several diseases (such as AIDS, cancer, and hepatitis) and cellular processes. The mechanism of action of siRNA involves its introduction into a cell. The sequence of siRNA is designed in such a way that it matches with a short area of the targeted gene. Small interfering RNA is processed by a cell’s own enzymes to abolish mRNA of the target gene, thereby preventing the over-expression of the disease-causing gene. It is based on natural response of cells when they detect genetic abnormality or infection. It has certain advantages over different types of therapies available currently, for example, target-specificity, reduced secondary effects, and high specificity. The pre-clinical development of small interfering RNA compound is of shorter duration (around 15 to 24 months) than that of monoclonal antibodies (around 27 to 50 months) or other traditional small molecules (around 42 to 66 months). This shortening of the pre-clinical stage is attributable to the rational design of RNAs. This design comprises mathematical algorithms assembled in software in order to select the most suitable RNA sequence to silence a specific gene target. They usually act longer than other traditional medicines.
The small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics market is expected to expand significantly during the forecast period, as only a few products are currently available in the market. For example, Britena is a product approved for skin de-pigmentation. Most of the small interfering RNA therapeutics is currently under clinical development. It would be marketed in the next few years. There exist more than 15 companies developing over 85 small interfering RNA therapies. Small interfering RNA is being studied for various disease areas. However, most of the studies are focused on the oncology area with 27 siRNA therapies under development by major pharma companies, followed by 14 therapies for infectious diseases and eight therapies for ophthalmology. Two of the most popular methods of delivering siRNA therapies are liposome-based systems and nanoparticle-based systems. Liposome-based systems are associated with liver-targeted pharmacokinetics, a phenomenon that restricts the therapeutic potential of siRNA therapies to other common diseases of the liver such as hepatocellular carcinoma, hepatitis, and hypercholesterolemia.
In terms of geography, the global small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics market has been segmented into North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Middle East & Africa. North America dominates the market, followed by Europe. This can be attributed to the large number of ongoing clinical trials, increase in the expenditure on research and development, and availability of developed health care infrastructure in North America. Asia Pacific is an emerging market for siRNA therapeutics, due to the developing health care infrastructure and rising government expenditure on the health care industry in the region. On the other hand, lack of developed health care infrastructure and limited research and development activities in Middle East & Africa restrain the siRNA therapeutics market in the region.
Major players operating in the global small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics market are GE Dharmacon, OPKO Health, Inc., Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Arrowhead Research Corp, Sanofi Genzyme, Genecon Biotechnologies Co., Ltd., Arbutus Biopharma Corp, Silence Therapeutics AG, and Sylentis S.A.
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