MiNA Therapeutics has raised £23 million ($30 million) to advance a pipeline of small activating RNAs (saRNAs) aimed at previously undruggable targets. The series A round will enable MiNA to move lead drug MTL-CEBPA into a phase 2 liver cancer trial in combination with Bayer’s Nexavar.
MiNA has made a name for itself in recent years as a developer of saRNAs designed to drive the upregulation of target proteins. The drugs are structurally similar to siRNAs but work in a different way once inside a cell. Upon entering the nucleus, saRNAs recruit endogenous transcription complexes, leading to the production of new mRNA and, by extension, the targeted protein.Boehringer Ingelheim teamed up with MiNA to apply the approach to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and other fibrotic diseases in 2017. Earlier this year, AstraZeneca began working with MiNA to assess the application of saRNAs to metabolic diseases.
Harnessing the innate mechanism of gene activation, MiNA Therapeutics’ platform enables the development of new medicines that restore normal function to patients’ cells. They are applying their technology and clinical know-how to transform the therapy landscape in cancer and other diseases. Small activating RNAs are an entirely new class of medicines with potential to offer transformational benefits to patients across a wide range of diseases.