Agreement expands miRagen’s research and development, intellectual property in the field of microRNA-based therapeutics
BOULDER, Colo. and FRANKFURT, Germany, November 30, 2010 – miRagen Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on improving patients’ lives by developing innovative microRNA (miRNA)-based therapeutics for cardiovascular and muscle disease, and t2cure, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing progenitor cell-based regenerative therapeutics for cardiac or peripheral vascular diseases, announced today that they have entered into a licensing agreement that provides miRagen Therapeutics with 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 microRNA 92 (miR-92). miR-92 is a key regulator of neoangiogenesis as part of ischemic disease, which may be relevant to peripheral arterial disease and other cardiovascular disorders. t2cure retains the rights to use modulators of miR-92 for ex-vivo treatment of cellular therapeutics. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.
Within the miR-92 family is an endothelial cell-enriched miRNA known as miR-92a. Inhibition of miR-92a in a preclinical model of limb ischemia and myocardial infarction has been shown to enhance blood vessel growth and functional recovery of damaged tissue. miR-92a appears to target mRNAs corresponding to several pro-angiogenic proteins [Bonauer et al, (2009) Science 324 (5935), 1710.]. miRagen believes miR-92a serves as a valuable therapeutic target in the setting of ischemic disease, and intends to explore its function during other vascular disorders, including atherosclerosis. miRagen plans to expand the preclinical exploration of miR-92a inhibition in ischemic cardiac injury in the near term.
The miR-92 discoveries were made in the lab of Stefanie Dimmeler, Ph.D., Professor of Experimental Medicine and Director of the Institute for Cardiovascular Regeneration, Center for Molecular Medicine at the University of Frankfurt. Dr. Dimmeler is also a member of miRagen’s Scientific Advisory Board and co-founder of t2cure.
“We are pleased to collaborate with t2cure to further explore miR-92 inhibition, and its potential for the development of a therapeutic candidate for the treatment of various arterial disorders,” said William S. Marshall, Ph.D., President and CEO of miRagen Therapeutics, Inc. “This agreement further advances miRagen toward our mission of developing groundbreaking microRNA-based therapeutics to treat patients with cardiovascular and muscle disease.”
“It is exciting to have miRagen with their outstanding expertise in microRNA biology as a partner to explore the clinical potential of the miR-92a technology,” said Petra Rueck, Ph.D., CEO of t2cure. “This collaboration also contributes to our current program of using miR-92a in vitro for the pre-treatment of stem cells, which has the potential to lead to future patent-protected regenerative therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.”
About microRNAs: microRNAs have emerged as an important class of small RNAs encoded in the genome. They act to control the expression of sets of genes and entire pathways and are thus thought of as master regulators of gene expression. Recent studies have demonstrated that microRNAs are associated with many disease processes. Because they are single molecular entities that dictate the expression of fundamental regulatory pathways, microRNAs represent potential drug targets for controlling many biologic and disease processes.
About miRagen Therapeutics: miRagen Therapeutics, Inc., was founded in 2007 to develop innovative microRNA-based therapeutics for cardiovascular and muscle disease. Only recently discovered, microRNAs are short, single-stranded RNA molecules encoded in the genome that regulate gene expression and play a vital role in influencing cardiovascular and muscle disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally and represents an enormous burden on global healthcare systems. Principally funded through venture capital investments, miRagen combines world recognized leadership in cardiovascular medicine with unprecedented in-house expertise in microRNA biology and chemistry. For more information, please visit www.miragentherapeutics.com.
t2cure GmbH is a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the field of stem cell-based regenerative medicine. It develops and markets autologous bone marrow-derived progenitor cells as regenerative therapeutics for cardiovascular diseases focusing on ischemic heart disease (Acute Myocardial Infarction and Chronic Ischemic Heart Disease), and Thromboangiitis Obliterans, or Buerger’s Disease. The most advanced product candidate (t2c001) has successfully passed Phase II of clinical development in Acute Myocardial Infarction and is commercially available to treat patients in Germany. t2cure is privately financed by Entrepreneurs Fund and Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau. For more information, visit www.t2cure.com
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