RXi to sell 2.4 million shares

WORCESTER, Mass. A company that develops drugs based on a mechanism similar to the one that gives petunias their mix of colors has announced plans to put more than 3 million shares up for sale.

RXi, which develops and commercializes therapies based on RNA interference – the cellular mechanism that controls the activation and activity of genes in many organisms, including humans – said Friday that it would offer 2.4 million shares of its common stock for $3.50 per share and warrants to purchase up to 954,286 shares at $4.50 each, exercisable in early February 2010. The offering, which will garner $7.8 million for the company, is expected to close near the beginning of August.

According to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, scientists originally discovered RNAi when they added pigmentation genes to single-color petunias. Instead of darkening the flowers’ petals, the new genes “silenced” many of the existing genes, causing some of the petals to turn white. In recent years, researchers have sought ways to use RNAi as a way of treating diseases.

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