Dicerna Pharmaceuticals reports a second closing of its Series B equity financing, securing an additional $4 million and bringing the total capital raised in this round to $29 million. Proceeds will be used to advance Dicerna’s lead in-house program in oncology toward clinical development and progress its other preclinical programs.
The company also plans to use the money to continue developing delivery technologies including its lipid nanoparticle system and novel lipid platform as well as targeted delivery systems that combine Dicerna’s DsiRNA molecules with targeting moieties such as peptides, aptamers, or antibodies.
Dicerna is developing RNAi-based therapeutic agents and drug delivery systems based on its Dicer Substrate Technology™ and Dicer Substrate siRNA (DsiRNA) molecules. Dicer Substrate Technology is a second-generation RNAi approach that results in greater potency, longer duration of action, and enhanced delivery potential compared to other RNAi approaches, according to Dicerna.
Dicer is a critical enzyme involved in the RNAi gene-silencing cascade. It acts as the natural initiation point for this pathway by processing double-stranded RNA so that it can be used for gene silencing. Dicer then delivers these modified small RNA molecules to the mature gene-silencing complex.
Dicerna’s synthetic DsiRNA molecules are 25 or more base pairs in length and are processed by Dicer. By utilizing this distinct early entry point into the pathway, DsiRNA molecules have greater potency and longer duration of action than other RNAi drug candidates, according to the company. It adds that DsiRNA molecules also have enhanced delivery potential because their structure creates a natural conjugation point for cellular targeting agents.
The company has an alliance with Kyowa Hakko Kirin for DsiRNA drugs and delivery systems, initially focused on oncology. It also has a partnership with Ipsen to research and develop DsiRNA therapeutics with targeted delivery in oncology and endocrinology.