Mirna Therapeutics, Inc., an Austin, Texas-based biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of microRNA (miRNA)* therapeutics, has closed a $1.5m equity financing round.
Backers include several (undisclosed) existing shareholders. This funding follows a $5m award the company received from the Texas Emerging Technology Fund in 2009 and a $10.3m commercialization award from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Mirva received in 2010.
The company intends to use the funding to further develop its proprietary microRNA (miRNA) therapeutics for the treatment of cancer and expand efforts to complete preclinical work towards submitting an IND by the end of 2012.
Founded in 2007 and led by President and CEO Paul Lammers, M.D., Mirna has developed an IP portfolio containing more than 300 miRNAs with applications in oncology and other diseases. Oncology-directed miRNAs include those that are key tumor suppressors in cancer, such as miR-34 and let-7 that have proven to block tumor growth in a number of different pre-clinical animal studies.
*MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecules (on average only 22 nucleotides long). More than 900 miRNAs are encoded in the human genome and are used as natural regulators of global gene expression. They comprise approximately 2% of all mammalian genes. By coordinating the expression of multiple genes, miRNAs are responsible for guiding proper embryonic development, immunity, inflammation, as well as cellular growth and proliferation. Misregulation of miRNAs appears to play a fundamental role in many cancers and replacement of down regulated miRNAs in tumor cells results in a positive therapeutic response.