Intradigm, a Palo Alto biotech company that is using a technology called “RNA interference” (RNAi) to target genes while providing oncology medical treatments, has raised $16 million in a first round of funding.

It has also moved to Palo Alto, from Rockville, Maryland, driven by the need for better research and development talent, it said.

The round, which occurred in May 2006 was co-led by Alta
Partners and Frazier Healthcare Ventures. Existing investors Emerging Technology Partners (ETP) and Novartis’ Ventures Fund participated. MediBic Alliance/Daiichi and Genentech also invested.

From the company’s statement:

Intradigm was formed in 2000 to develop proprietary nucleic acid delivery technology. The fundamental platform of Intradigm’s technology is a ligand-targeted nanoparticle system that is capable of systemic delivery of multiple RNAi molecules targeting different genes. “The discovery that RNAi can silence gene expression is a major scientific breakthrough, and has led to numerous developments towards the use of this technology as a treatment modality” said Dr. Mohammad Azab, CEO of Intradigm. “However, the translation of that discovery to a therapeutic drug is hampered by lack of effective delivery systems. Intradigm is developing such a system and we intend to aggressively pursue the realization of the therapeutic promise of RNAi using our technology.”