miRecule Inc. closes $5.7 M to Create Breakthrough RNA Therapies for Cancer and Muscular Dystrophy
GAITHERSBURG, Md., May 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — miRecule, Inc. (“miRecule”), an emerging biotech company focused on the development of cutting-edge RNA therapeutics, announced today it has closed over $5.7M in seed funding. The funding round was led by Alexandria Venture Investments, along with Boutique Venture Partners, Pathway Bioventures, Alumni Ventures Group, and national angel investors, with additional funding coming from the Maryland Momentum Fund and the FSHD Society. This funding includes a non-dilutive $2M Phase II SBIR grant from the National Cancer Institute.
miRecule will utilize the funding to drive its lead microRNA therapy (MC-30) towards clinical development for head & neck cancer, the 6th most common form of cancer worldwide. “We are hopeful MC-30 could be a real game-changer. By correcting the underlying mutation that creates resistance to treatment, we think we can triple response rates and give years of quality life back to many patients,” commented CEO Anthony Saleh.
miRecule’s DREAmiR™ discovery platform was developed through over a decade of research in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. DREAmiR integrates genomic and clinical outcomes data from thousands of patients to identify underlying genetic drivers of disease, and then designs matching RNA therapeutics that directly correct those abnormalities. miRecule is applying its platform to a range of diseases, including cancer, muscular dystrophy, and even viruses such as HIV and COVID-19.
miRecule has also utilized DREAmiR to develop MC-DX4, an antisense oligonucleotide treatment for Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD). FSHD is one of the most common muscular dystrophies, with over 40,000 patients in the US (many of whom are children). Currently, there are no FDA approved treatments for FSHD. “The FSHD Society is excited to be a funding partner in this endeavor, which aligns strongly with our mission to reduce obstacles inherent in the clinical & regulatory process for FSHD,” said Mark Stone, CEO of the FSHD society.
miRecule spun out of the NIH into BioHealth Innovation’s (BHI) incubator in 2017. “BHI is proud to have been a co-founder with miRecule, and assist in their fundraising and growth here in Maryland. Anthony is a role model having transitioned from an academic scientist to a successful entrepreneur, and we are glad to have supported him through this process,” said Rich Bendis CEO of BHI.
“We think miRecule’s therapeutics will vastly improve the lives of patients by changing the course of their serious diseases” said Dr. Rami El Assal, Managing Partner & Co-founder of Boutique Venture Partners. “miRecule’s innovative, data-driven discovery engine shows true platform potential for the next generation of RNA therapeutics. We were really glad to have miRecule participate in Alexandria’s Seed Capital Platform, and ultimately participate in the company’s seed round,” said Conley Jones from Alexandria Venture Investments.
miRecule, Inc. is a pre-clinical biotechnology company focused on the development of RNA therapeutics to treat a variety of diseases. miRecule has developed the DREAmiR genomics-based discovery platform to identify critical RNA targets for drug development in specific subsets of patients that would benefit from treatment. The company then creates proprietary chemically-modified RNA therapeutics with improved pharmacology, while utilizing antibodies for targeted delivery to the diseased tissue. miRecule’s lead candidate, MC-30 for Head & Neck cancer, replaces the potent tumor suppressor activity of microRNA-30 which is lost in half of Head & Neck cancer patients. miRecule’s second program, MC-DX4 for the treatment of Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD). MC-DX4 eliminates expression of the DUX4 gene, which causes the disease in 95% of patients.
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