After raising £5.9 million a fortnight ago, RNA interference specialist Silence Therapeutics says the cash will help pay for the completion of a Phase I trial of its cancer drug Atu027.__

Atu027, Silence’s most-advanced internal drug candidate, is a liposomal siRNA formulation targeting PKN3 and is aimed at treating solid cancer. The company plans to begin a Phase Ib/IIa trial by mid-2012 and it hopes to partner the drug during the course of next year.

Silence also plans to file an investigational New Drug Application with the US Food and Drug Administration for Atu134 - like Atu027 an anti-angiogenic – by the end of 2012.

US business to close

In conjunction with the recent fundraising, Silence also announced plans to close its US operations and its facility across the pond will be shuttered in the third quarter of this year. As part of the reorganisation, Phil Haworth will step down as chief executive once a successor is identified.