Marina Biotech and Mirna Therapeutics are amending the agreement they established back in December of 2011 toward developing and commercializing microRNA-based therapeutics using Mirna's microRNAs and Marina Biotech's Smarticles liposomal delivery technology. Mirna made certain prepayments to Marina Biotech per the agreement and now has additional rights to its lead program, MRX34, which is an miRNA mimic of tumor suppressor miR-34 delivered using Smarticles. Mirna has also optioned exclusivity on several additional miRNA targets.
MRX34 is in Phase I development for patients with unresectable primary liver cancer or metastatic cancer with liver involvement. The trial's initiation was announced in May, and Mirna's CEO Paul Lammers at the time referred to the trial as "a landmark even for cancer drug development."
J. Michael French, Marina Biotech's president and CEO, said in a statement that, in addition to the relationship it has with Mirna, the company is also pleased that it was able to close licensing transactions successfully during the past year and a half, during what he referred to as "a difficult stretch". Marina implemented a furlough of approximately 90% of its employees and ceased most day-to-day operations back in June of 2012.
"Although this transaction will not allow us to resume normal operations, I believe it will be sufficient to achieve certain tactical and strategic objectives over the next quarter," he added.