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Apr 24, 2012

MiRagen Pockets $20M to Further miRNA-Based Drugs

  • MiRagen Therapeutics completed a $20 million Series B financing. The company will use the money to advance development of its miRNA-based therapeutics pipeline. The financing is being led by Remeditex with participation from miRagen’s existing investor syndicate, which includes Amgen Ventures, Atlas Venture, Boulder Ventures, and Broadview Ventures.

    “In a short period of time, miRagen has delivered significant advances that help to translate new biology into next-generation therapeutic candidates,” notes Bruce Booth, D.Phil., miRagen’s chairman of the board and partner at Atlas Venture. “The team has generated these compelling results in a capital-efficient manner, and we look forward to moving the company to the logical next level with the Series B investment.”

    MiRagen’s pipeline is at the preclinical stage. The antimiR program is the most advanced and comprises three candidates. These molecules are aimed at chronic heart failure, post myocardial infarction (MI) remodeling, and polycythemia vera. MiRagen also has one candidate at the lead optimization stage, which is being evaluated in cardiac fibrosis. Additionally, there are four drug compounds in target validation studies against peripheral arterial disease, cardiometabolic disease, vascular disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

    Additionally, miRagen is coupling its expertise with outside partners. This January it signed an agreement with Silence Therapeutics to evaluate the potential combination of the latter’s DBTC delivery system with its own miRNA-based therapeutics. The chronic heart failure and post-MI remodeling candidates are partnered with Servier. In October 2011, Servier paid $45 million up front for these two drugs as well as a yet to be identified cardiovascular target. If all milestones are reached in all three programs, the deal will total $1 billion to miRagen.

    MiRagen is also working with Santaris Pharma in cardiovascular and muscle diseases, using Santaris’ locked nucleic acid drug platform. Additionally, miRagen entered into a collaboration with RXi to evaluate the potential utility of RXi’s rxRNA technology against specific miRNA targets of interest to miRagen in the areas of cardiac and neuromuscular disease.

    The company has exclusive rights to the technology and intellectual property related to the in vivo use of discoveries made by the University of Frankfurt and licensed by t2cure regarding miR-92, a regulator of neoangiogenesis as part of ischemic disease. Furthermore the firm has license arrangements for discoveries made at the University of Texas, University of North Carolina, and University of Colorado.


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