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GEN News Highlights : Oct 26, 2010

miRagen Allies with University of Colorado for miRNA Profiling of Heart Failure Study

miRagen will fund analysis of results and own resulting IP.

miRagen Therapeutics and the University of Colorado (UC) have agreed to collaborate on the discovery and development of miRNA therapeutics. Their arrangement is structured in a way that gives miRagen access to data from a cardiovascular study conducted by the university as well as rights to intellectual property linked to that project.

A sponsored research arrangement will support the analysis of miRNA and gene-expression changes from the “Beta Blocker Effects on Remodeling and Gene Expression (BORG)” study. It was conducted at the University of Colorado Cardiovascular Institute at the UC Denver School of Medicine.

Additionally, a licensing deal will enable the company to commercialize intellectual property associated with discoveries made during the research project. Analysis of the completed study, funded by miRagen, will provide the company with data on miRNA changes in human heart-failure patients followed over two years with associated disease outcomes.

The BORG study involved 63 chronic heart-failure/nonischemic dilated cardiomyopathy patients followed for an 18-month period. Measurements of chamber remodeling and mRNA as well as miRNA expression at baseline, three months, and 12 months were made.

This data “will be very useful to miRagen in target selection for their therapeutic miRNA approaches,” notes Michael R. Bristow, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine and co-director of the Cardiovascular Institute, who also led the BORG study and co-founded miRagen. “In drug development, animal models are of course very valuable, but for target validation as well as novel target discovery, human data is vitally important.”

William S. Marshall, Ph.D., president and CEO of miRagen, adds that access to BORG study results “provides us with the ability to analyze miRNA levels as well as gene-expression changes in a given patient at specific points in time in their disease progression.

“We believe this will provide a very powerful tool in stratifying our miRNA targets and support our mission of developing groundbreaking miRNA-based therapeutics to treat patients with cardiovascular and muscle disease.”