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Marina Biotech, Inc.’s second quarter 2010 loss of 34 cents per share was narrower than the year-ago loss of 84 cents. However, after excluding special items, the loss in the reported quarter narrowed to 53 cents from the year-ago loss of 72 cents. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter was a loss of 43 cents. The lower amount spent on research and development (R&D) in the quarter primarily led to the narrower loss.

The company, which has no marketed product, is highly dependent on revenues from licensing agreements with other companies and institutions like Novartis (NVS - Analyst Report), Roche (RHHBY - Analyst Report), and the University of Helsinki. Revenues in the quarter declined 38% to $0.19 million.

R&D expenses declined approximately 12% to $3.8 million. Selling, general and administrative expenses came in flat at approximately $2.3 million.

The company has taken significant strides to develop its pipeline during the second quarter of 2010, which includes a clinical program aimed at treating familial adenomatous polyposis (a precancerous syndrome) and two preclinical programs for treating hepatocellular carcinoma and bladder cancer.

The oncology pipeline at Marina was boosted by the acquisition of Cequent Pharmaceuticals. Marina’s collaboration with Pfizer (PFE - Analyst Report) also encourages us. The partnership aims to evaluate Marina’s proprietary di-alkylated amino acids (DiLA2) platform and UsiRNA constructs for RNA interference (RNAi).

Marina Biotech, founded in 1983, is headquartered in Bothell, Washington. It aims at developing and commercializing therapeutic products based on the RNAi technology. The company, formerly known as MDRNA, Inc. changed its name to Marina Biotech, Inc. in July 2010.

Our Recommendation
We have a Zacks #3 Rank (short-term 'Hold' recommendation) on the shares. This indicates that the stock is expected to perform in line with the overall US equity market for the next 1–3 months. Our long-term Neutral stance on the company indicates that Marina is expected to replicate its short-term performance over 6+ months. Consequently, we advise investors to retain the stock for the period.

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