Institutional Investment Is One of the Largest Ever for a Texas Biotechnology Company
Austin, TX – October 24, 2012
Mirna Therapeutics Inc. (Mirna), a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of microRNA (miRNA) therapeutics in cancer, announced today the completion of a $34.5 million Series C financing.
The company’s first institutional financing was led by Sofinnova Ventures, with participation from new investors, New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Pfizer Ventures, Osage University Partners, Correlation Ventures, and existing investors. The funding will enable Mirna to advance its lead microRNA-based therapeutic product candidate MRX34 through human proof of concept studies. As a result of the financing, Michael Powell Ph.D., General Partner, Sofinnova Ventures, Ed Mathers, Partner at NEA, and Elaine Jones, Ph.D., Executive Director, Venture Capital-Worldwide Business Development, Pfizer Inc., will join the Board of Directors.
“This significant round of financing is an important validation of the therapeutic and commercial potential of our differentiated miRNA replacement approach and underscores the promise of our pipeline of miRNA-based product candidates,” said Paul Lammers, M.D., Mirna’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Armed with a robust preclinical data package, Mirna is now positioned to be the first company in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry to advance therapeutics based on miRNA mimics towards the clinic in cancer. We believe that miRNAs represent a powerful and innovative approach to cancer therapy which has the potential to provide renewed hope for many cancer patients.”
“The Mirna team has made significant achievements over the last few years in building a broadly enabling technology platform that demonstrates the therapeutic potential of systemically delivered miRNAs,” said Michael Powell, Mirna’s new Chairman of the Board. “They have overcome many of the drug delivery issues previously seen in RNA products, and we believe Mirna has the potential to become one of the leading miRNA companies.”
Matthew Winkler, Ph.D., Director and founder of Mirna, added: “Early financial support from both the Texas Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has accelerated Mirna’s significant progress and highlights the emergence of Texas as a hub for innovation in the life sciences.”
Ferghana Partners (Boston, New York and London) acted as Mirna’s financial advisor and sole placement agent for this financing.
About microRNAs (miRNAs)
miRNAs are small oligonucleotides that affect gene expression by interacting with messenger RNAs. Unlike siRNAs, miRNAs are encoded in the human genome and are used as natural regulators of global gene expression. More than 1,500 miRNAs are encoded in the human genome and comprise approximately 2% of all mammalian genes. Since each miRNA appears to regulate the expression of tens to hundreds of different genes, miRNAs can function as “master-switches,” efficiently regulating and coordinating multiple cellular pathways and processes. By coordinating the expression of multiple genes, miRNAs are responsible for guiding embryonic development, immune and related inflammatory responses, as well as cellular growth and proliferation. Misregulation of miRNAs appears to play a fundamental role in the occurrence, growth and dissemination of many cancers; replacement of down-regulated miRNAs in tumor cells results in the destruction of cancer cells.
About Mirna Therapeutics
Mirna Therapeutics (‘Mirna’) is harnessing the power of tumor suppressor micro RNAs (miRNAs) to kill cancer cells by regaining control over multiple oncogenic pathways. Tumor suppressor miRNAs represent a new paradigm in cancer therapy. Mirna’s miRNA “mimic pipeline” has broad therapeutic utility in solid and hematologic cancers as well as other therapeutic areas, and provides multiple opportunities for partnering and licensing. Mirna intends to file an IND for its lead program, MRX34, in 1Q 2013, followed by initiation of a Phase 1 trial in patients with advanced or metastatic cancers with liver involvement. The depth and breadth of Mirna’s miRNA technology, pipeline and IP estate position the company as an emerging leader in miRNA therapeutics. Mirna has received significant funding from the State of Texas, both through the State’s Emerging Technology Fund (TETF) and from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). For more information, visit www.mirnarx.com.
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