CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Cequent Pharmaceuticals, a pioneer in the development of novel products to deliver RNAi-based treatments to prevent and treat human disease, has initiated a long-term (26- week) toxicology study of CEQ508 – the company’s lead drug candidate based on its proprietary tkRNAi technology. This study is designed to enable a Phase II clinical trial slated for 2011. CEQ508 targets beta-catenin, a key oncogene implicated in the formation of colonic polyps and in the progression of polyps to colorectal cancer. The non-human primate (NHP) study will evaluate safety and gene knock-down with once-daily oral administration of CEQ508. As an addition to this study, Cequent has begun dosing with the therapeutic candidate optioned by Novartis to enable an upcoming IND application in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).