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Exposing ballyhoo or forecasting a bellwether?

Managing Editor

RNA interference (RNAi) has been the most talked about technology in the biotechnology world for more than one year, but any discussion regarding the success of the market must be primarily relegated to references of potential, in view of the facts that no drugs have been approved for market, clinical trials have not yet begun and there are unresolved factors that will influence the market's course.

Potential is a word that is used frequently in this publication when referencing the capability of RNAi, but is not a bad, or omissive, word relative to discussing or evaluating this market, since its derivations are born from contemplative and calculative consideration of factors that lead to an intellective conclusion.

The RNAi market is an extant entity, yet it is all about potential, and such aptitude must be defined by tangible events that have rendered the market thus far, as well as by intangible barometers that process information and forecast developments.

Toward that end, this book endeavors to depict, recount and assess this rising biotechnology market segment and deduce its capacity, owing to dynamics that have created and developed this industry in correlation with the market's proclivities and probabilities.

This publication assumes to report the market through the employment and application of the resources, knowledge and experience of Thomson BioWorld and its ancillary businesses, in order to present information, identify trends and evaluate the RNAi market based on historical factors, market intelligence, expert interviews and probability forecasts.

This book addresses the major players, therapeutic applications, R&D status, competitive environment, industry events and market prognoses that distinguish this promising, ground-breaking discipline, while presuming an opportunity for the reader to assess what's happened to bring the industry to its present state, what's going on in the contemporary environment and what the future holds as the technology aspires to attest its heralded, but as yet unfulfilled, efficacy and value in the marketplace.

So, even though the RNAi industry is in a "virtual" stage, in that it is attempting to outlast the initial round of hype that accompanied its arrival and this current phase in which there are no clinical trials or products, the market is real, the opportunities are tangible, but the challenges are authentic too, making this a "live" market that is replete with opportunity and challenge for industry players and participants.

The RNAi market sector is entering a critical phase in the drug development cycle, with the news that companies are beginning to file for regulatory approval to move from the laboratory into the clinic.

The initiation of human trials-particularly those in a field as intriguing, touted and anticipated as the RNAi market-is a period that traditionally attracts heightened interest from the investment community, the relative employment market and among players in the partnering arena, since it represents a narrowing opportunity to come on board before the technology transcends the ambiguity of potential to become a valid entity with an escalating entry fee.

A promising drug, technology or company can "emerge" for years, and therapeutic candidates can buoy high hopes for decades before eventually either yielding results or just fading into failure without ever achieving their potential, but RNAi technology is raising expectations because it can boast of a track record that has delivered on its preclinical stage expectations thus far and it offers significant possible improvements over conventional therapeutics, including wide-ranging applications, less negative side effects, more potency and an accelerated understanding of gene function.

RNAi is chronicled and evaluated as it continues a steady development from an industry characterized by great expectations and results that, in the absence of clinical trials, are casually relative to human applications, into an absolute market that precisely addresses relevant human drug and therapeutic discovery with a reliance on the secure foundation of a solid research tools industry, bona fide investor appeal, sound research agendas, stellar management and R&D staffs and access to ground-breaking novel patented technology.

This is a practical and decisive time to consider the RNAi market, in that its current juncture is so crucial to the direction and development of the sector. The impending approval or denial of applications to initiate human trials indicates a pass-or-fail grade for companies that have made great investments and sacrifices and taken irremediable risks, believing that the technology is capable of realizing its potential and blazing a novel drug discovery path.

The RNAi segment is no longer a nascent market that can only be assumed with adumbrative, or highly speculative, projections; instead, it has, even without established clinical trials, matured enough to demonstrate a record of scientific validation, reliable technology and stalwart company portfolios that is worthy of investor attention and capable of a more well-defined forecast.

A more thorough examination of this market is now possible in order to determine if RNAi is likely to capitalize on its promising lucubration in laboratory environments by fructifying in clinical venues and delivering therapeutics for diseases that have yet to be successfully treated. If so, RNAi will facilitate its own cogency and may come to be regarded as the zeitgeber that energized and paced the biotechnology industry into the 21st century.