RXi Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:RXII) is up 13% premarket on modestly higher volume in response to its announcement of positive results from a consumer testing program assessing the ability of RXI-231 to reduce skin pigmentation caused by exposure to UV light.

The first two RXi Pharmaceuticals  of RXI-231studies in volunteers determined that the RXI-231 gel formulation does not cause irritation and sensitization when applied to the skin.  A third study investigated the potential of RXI-231 to impact a skin melanin content (pigmentation) increase induced by UV exposure, as measured by narrow-band reflectance spectroscopy, in a study design similar to one well documented in peer-reviewed journal articles and used by various cosmetic companies. Specific spectroscopic results – known to correlate well with skin melanin content – show that application with RXI-231 containing gel, as compared to vehicle gel, can reduce a change of skin tone triggered by UV.

RXi Pharmaceuticals’ RXI-231 targets TYR, a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of melanin.  Initial results with RXI-231 resulted in a visible reduction of pigmentation in 3-dimensional reconstituted human epidermal culture. Further testing showed a decrease in melanin content in cultured primary human melanocytes lasting for at least one week after a single dose.  RXi has developed a gel formulation that allows sd-rxRNA based cosmetic ingredients, which are relatively large (9-12 kDa) and negatively charged, to penetrate into the skin layers where the melanin producing cells reside.

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