RXi Pharmaceuticals Corp (NASDAQ:RXII), a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing innovative therapies primarily in the areas of dermatology and ophthalmology today announced that it has selected two compounds for cosmetic product development (“cosmeceuticals”) based on its proprietary self-delivering RNAi (sd-rxRNA®) platform.

RXI-231, an sd-rxRNA compound developed to target Tyrosinase (TYR), has been selected to advance in to cosmetic product development. TYR is a key enzyme in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that gives human skin, hair and eyes their color. RXI-231 lead to a visible reduction of pigmentation in melanocytes in a 3-dimensional tissue culture model of human epidermis. Results in this model show that RXI-231 is approximately one hundred times more potent than kojic acid, a well-characterized skin lightening agent.

RXI-185, an sd-rxRNA compound developed to target Collagenase (MMP1), has been selected to advance in to cosmetic product development.  Collagenases are enzymes that break the peptide bonds in collagen. Matrix metalloproteinase 1 (MMP1) is a collagenase involved in the breakdown of extracellular matrix that specifically cleaves collagen I, II and III.  Results from studies show a pronounced reduction in MMP1 mRNA levels that correspond to a similar reduction in MMP1 enzyme activity in cell culture in vitro. RXI-185 is nominated for development as a product that may improve skin appearance.

These two targets were selected because they have great potential as clinically relevant pharmaceutical gene targets as well as cosmeceutical targets.  The Company is actively testing other sd-rxRNAs targeting TYR and MMP1 for possible therapeutic development.

The term ‘cosmeceuticals’ refers to compounds that affect the appearance of the skin. For example, by targeting tyrosinase, a superficial reduction of melanin could potentially change the appearance of the darkened skin spots known as age spots and freckles or lighten the skin overall.  Cosmeceuticals can make no preventative nor therapeutic claims and may be developed more rapidly than therapeutics, therefore the path to market may be much shorter and less expensive.

“The selection of these two cosmetic product candidates opens the door for additional business development opportunities with both small and large companies that are focusing on non-therapeutic skin health,” said Dr. Geert Cauwenbergh, President and CEO of RXi Pharmaceuticals.  He further added, “The versatility of MMP1 and TYR, which are relevant for both cosmetic and therapeutic use, are a unique match with our sd-rxRNA platform, allowing us to advance different compounds in both areas of development.  This approach further supports our efforts to increase shareholder value.” (Original Source)

Shares of RXi Pharmaceuticals closed yesterday at $0.485. RXII has a 1-year high of $2.18 and a 1-year low of $0.34. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $0.45 and its 200-day moving average is $0.50.

On the ratings front, H.C. Wainwright analyst Mark Breidenbach reiterated a Buy rating on RXII, with a price target of $3.50, in a report issued on September 1. The current price target represents a potential upside of 614.3% from where the stock is currently trading. According to TipRanks.com, Breidenbach has a total average return of -5.6%, a 27.3% success rate, and is ranked #3075 out of 3795 analysts.

RXi Pharmaceuticals Corp is a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing therapies addressing high unmet medical needs, in the areas of dermatology and ophthalmology.