Santaris Pharma A/S and miRagen Therapeutics, Inc. Form Strategic Alliance to Develop microRNA-Targeted Medicines for the Treatment of Cardiovascular DiseaseBy Santaris Pharma As, PRNE
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
miRagen licenses rights to utilize Santaris Pharma A/S proprietary Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) Drug Platform to identify and select drug candidates against miRagen's proprietary microRNA targets for the treatment of cardiovascular disease
HOERSHOLM, Denmark, SAN DIEGO and BOULDER, Colorado, June 23, 2010 - Santaris Pharma A/S, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused
on the discovery and development of RNA-targeted therapies and miRagen
Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing
innovative microRNA-based therapeutics for cardiovascular and muscle disease,
announced today that they have formed a strategic alliance to develop
microRNA-targeted medicines for the treatment of cardiovascular disease.
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death worldwide,
claiming 17.1 million lives a year, or 29 percent of all deaths globally(1).
An estimated 81 million American adults - more than one in three - have one
or more types of cardiovascular disease, which include high blood pressure,
coronary heart disease, congenital cardiovascular defects, heart attack,
chest pain, heart failure and stroke(2).
miRagen is planning to develop and commercialize single-stranded
LNA-based product candidates intended for the treatment of cardiovascular
disease by utilizing Santaris Pharma A/S proprietary Locked Nucleic Acid
(LNA) Drug Platform. Under the terms of the agreement, Santaris Pharma A/S
received a minority equity interest in miRagen, and is eligible to receive
milestone payments and royalties upon achievement of certain development and
regulatory milestones. Financial terms of the collaboration were not
"We are pleased that miRagen selected Santaris Pharma A/S as its
preferred partner, further validating that our LNA Drug Platform is the
technology-of-choice for developing RNA-targeted medicines," said Soeren
Tulstrup, President and CEO of Santaris Pharma A/S. "This collaboration is a
prime example of two companies leveraging their unique capabilities in
developing RNA-targeted medicines and combined expertise in cardiovascular
disease to develop new medicines for life-threatening diseases. Santaris
Pharma A/S looks forward to adding more alliances with biotechnology
companies to its growing list of partners."
The unique combination of pharmaceutical properties, small size and very
high affinity of LNA-based drugs developed utilizing Santaris Pharma A/S LNA
Drug Platform allows this new class of drugs to potently and specifically
inhibit RNA-targets in many different tissues without the need for complex
"We are very enthusiastic about our collaboration with Santaris Pharma,
which provides us with what we believe is best-in-class technology to advance
our mission of developing innovative microRNA-based therapies intended for
the treatment of patients with cardiovascular and muscle disease," said
William S. Marshall, Ph.D., President and CEO of miRagen Therapeutics.
"Santaris Pharma's LNA drug platform, which has produced compounds already in
the clinic, can help to accelerate our development programs by providing the
most effective anti-microRNA chemistry we've explored to date."
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 Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) Drug Platform
The LNA Drug Platform and Drug Discovery Engine developed by Santaris
Pharma A/S combines the Company's proprietary LNA chemistry with its highly
specialized and targeted drug development capabilities to rapidly deliver
potent single-stranded LNA-based drug candidates against RNA targets, both
mRNA and microRNA, for a range of diseases including metabolic disorders,
infectious and inflammatory diseases, cancer and rare genetic disorders. The
LNA Drug Platform overcomes the limitations of earlier antisense and siRNA
technologies to deliver potent single-stranded LNA-based drug candidates
across a multitude of disease states. The unique combination of small size
and very high affinity, which is only achievable with LNA-based drugs, allows
this new class of drugs to potently and specifically inhibit RNA targets in
many different tissues without the need for complex delivery vehicles.
LNA-based drugs are a promising new type of therapy that enables scientists
to develop drugs to attack previously inaccessible clinical pathways. The
most important features of LNA-based drugs include excellent specificity,
providing optimal targeting; increased affinity to targets providing improved
potency; and strong pharmacology upon systemic delivery without complicated
About Santaris Pharma A/S
Santaris Pharma A/S is a privately held clinical-stage biopharmaceutical
company focused on the discovery and development of RNA-targeted therapies.
The Locked Nucleic Acid (LNA) Drug Platform and Drug Discovery Engine
developed by Santaris Pharma A/S combine the Company's proprietary LNA
chemistry with its highly specialized and targeted drug development
capabilities to rapidly deliver potent single-stranded LNA-based drug
candidates across a multitude of disease states. The Company's research and
development activities focus on infectious diseases and metabolic disorders,
while partnerships with major pharmaceutical companies include a range of
therapeutic areas including cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious and
inflammatory diseases, and rare genetic disorders. The Company has strategic
partnerships with Enzon Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Shire plc
and miRagen Therapeutics, Inc. As part of its broad patent estate, the
Company holds exclusive worldwide rights to all therapeutic uses of LNA.
Santaris Pharma A/S, founded in 2003, is headquartered in Denmark with
operations in the United States. Please visit www.santaris.com for
About miRagen Therapeutics
miRagen Therapeutics, Inc., was founded in 2007 to develop innovative
microRNA-based therapeutics for cardiovascular and muscle disease. MicroRNAs
are short, single-stranded RNA molecules encoded in the genome that regulate
gene expression and are thought to 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-class leadership in cardiovascular medicine with
unprecedented in-house expertise in microRNA biology and chemistry. For more
information, please visit www.miragentherapeutics.com.
This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks
and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those
projected and miRagen cautions readers not to place undue reliance on the
forward-looking statements contained in the release.
(1) World Health Organization -
(2) Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics - 2010 Update, American Heart
Navjot Rai, Director, Global Communications of Santaris Pharma A/S, +1-858-764-7064, ext. 206, Cell, +1-619-723-5450, navjot.rai at santaris.com; or Anna Sussman, +1-303-907-5358, anna at scoutir.com, or Breanna Burkart, +1-303-907-5162, Breanna at scoutir.com, both of Scout Investor Relations, for miRagen Therapeutics
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