miRagen Therapeutics, a Boulder, CO-based biopharmaceutical company developing innovative microRNA-based therapeutics, raised $41m in Series C funding.
The round was co-led by MRL Ventures and JAFCO Co., with participation from other investors Brace Pharma Capital and MP Healthcare Venture Management as well as existing investors Atlas Venture, Boulder Ventures, Remeditex Ventures, Amgen Ventures and others. In conjunction with the financing, Joshua Resnick, M.D., president of MRL Ventures, will join the miRagen Board of Directors.
The company intends to use the funds to advance two product candidates, MRG-106 (1) and MRG-201 (2), into clinical development this year.
Led by William Marshall, chief executive officer, miRagen focuses on the discovery and development of innovative microRNA (miRNA)-targeting therapies.
(1) MRG-106 is an antimiR (antagonist) to microRNA-155. In hematological malignancy microRNA-155 has key roles in the differentiation, function and proliferation of blood and lymph cells. Therapeutic inhibition (antagonism) of microRNA-155 in lymphoma cells restores normal function and reduces the aberrant cell proliferation that is characteristic of cancerous cells.
(2) MRG-201 is a promiR (agonist) to microRNA-29b. The microRNA-29 family is a negative regulator of a wide variety of genes important in extracellular matrix deposition. The expression of the three family members is consistently down-regulated in a number of pathological fibrotic conditions, including cardiac, renal, hepatic, and pulmonary fibrosis, as well as systemic sclerosis. Numerous studies in cell-culture and genetic replacement in rodents have also demonstrated the potential of miR-29 normalization to correct many drivers of pathological fibrosis.