Servier pays for rights for microRNA candidates from MiRagen
Paris/Boulder – French drugmaker Servier has secured the rights for two miroRNA drug candidates from US-biotech MiRagen. Both companies clinched a partnership agreement under which Servier would fund the research, development and commercialisation of two of the most promising candidates to treat cardiovascular disease, miR-208 and miR-15/195, as well as one yet-to-be-determined discovery target. In exchange for commercialisation rights outside the U.S. and Japan, miRagen gets US$45 million in an upfront payment, research support and near-term milestones, up to US$352 million in total milestones and double-digit royalties on approved products. It's a "transformational deal" for the fledgling MiRagen, a company that has raised US$18 million in venture capital since its 2007 founding, said CEO William Marshall. The deal is also welcome news to Atlas Venture and Boulder Ventures, which helped launch miRagen with an US$8 million Series A back in 2008. "It's always been a question of 'How do we get (the large-scale trials)?'" Marshall said. "Now we've got a clear path to that." Inhibiting microRNA-208 could increase resistance to cardiac stress, while the inhibition of miR-15/195 not only reduces the amount of cells that die after a heart attack, but also shows promise in helping the regeneration of cells.