Once focused on hard-to-treat liver diseases, MiNA Therapeutics is joining armament with Servier to engage its baby activating RNA technology on another difficult front: neurology.
MiNA and Servier announced a new research alliance Thursday centered about neurological disorders. While the partners are keeping quiet about their targets for now, MiNA CEO Robert Habib vaguely revealed that the aboriginal one was nominated by Servier, which has an option over it. MiNA stands to receive up to $266.3 million (€220 million) in an upfront payment and milestones on that target alone, admitting they declined to breach those numbers bottomward any further.
In addition, Servier has exclusivity over two added targets, Habib said. Under the agreement of the deal, MiNA will identify potential candidates and Servier will booty the advance on preclinical and clinical development.
“This is array of our aboriginal footfall in CNS with Servier, but it has the potential to expand absolutely significantly beyond abounding targets,” Habib told Endpoints News.
MiNA was co-founded in 2008 by Habib’s father, the prominent Imperial College London professor Nagy Habib. Robert larboard investment banking about seven years ago to booty the captain at his father’s company, setting out on a mission to advice amusement the “undruggable” — starting with liver cancer.
saRNA is similar to RNA interference, in that they both rely on abbreviate strands of RNA and a protein alleged argonaute-2. Except instead of silencing genes, saRNA amplifies.
“We accept enzymes within our bodies that are responsible for gene regulation. And what we do is we design baby RNA sequences that direct those enzymes to specific regions of a gene, which in doing so can trigger the gene to increase transcription, to release added messenger RNA and added protein,” Habib explained.
The London-based biotech’s advance program goes after CEBPA — a gene that provides instructions to accomplish a blazon of transcription factor protein — in the hopes of reducing immune suppression acquired by immature myeloid beef to improve the efficacy of cancer therapies. Its candidate, MTL-CEBPA, is being tested as a combination therapy with Bayer’s Nexavar in hepatocellular carcinoma and Merck’s Keytruda in advanced solid tumors. Several months ago, MiNA landed a nearly $30 million Series A annular to advance those programs forward.
Habib expects to blanket up the Phase I dosage escalation portion of the Keytruda abstraction about the end of this quarter, and barrage into dosage expansion in Q2. The aboriginal data snapshot could appear as early as the end of this year, he said.
The Servier accord allows MiNA to annex out from liver diseases and explore new territory “ripe for our technology,” Habib said. It’s one of several collaborations that MiNA has active over the aftermost few years, including one with AstraZeneca aftermost January that gave the pharma negotiating rights to a licensing agreement after a series of preclinical studies.
In 2017, Sosei put bottomward about $45 million for 25.6% of MiNA’s equity. Peter Bains, Sosei’s CEO at the time, laid out a $534 million plan to acquire MiNA, and appropriately expand Sosei’s global reach. That aforementioned year, MiNA active an up-to $371.9 million accord with Boehringer Ingelheim for three liver fibrosis targets, including at atomic one NASH drug. But a year and a bisected later, Sosei anesthetized on the option, keeping its stake.
“The power of saRNA technology is that it is a chemical biologic that works by a transient dose-dependent mechanism, actual abundant like a chemical drug. But because it targets gene transcription and can increase gene transcription, it can hit targets that are not druggable by conventional medicine,” Habib said.
“This is really extending the broader success that we’re seeing in RNA added widely,” CBO Peter Bains said, referencing companies like Alnylam and Moderna. “So this is… another modality for RNA intervention.”
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