Healthcare Industry News: Merck
News Release - July 23, 2015
RaNA Therapeutics Secures $55 Million in Oversubscribed Series B FinancingProceeds will Further Strengthen RaNA’s Proprietary Platforms and Advance Lead Optimization and IND-Enabling Studies for Priority Programs
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)--RaNA Therapeutics, a leader in the discovery and development of a new class of medicines that target RNA to selectively activate protein expression within the body’s own cells, today announced the successful completion of a $55 million oversubscribed Series B financing. Proceeds from the financing will be used to bolster RaNA’s proprietary platforms focused on epigenetic gene upregulation and messenger RNA (mRNA) stabilization, including investments in chemistry and oligonucleotide synthesis capabilities. In addition, the financing will support preclinical efforts towards lead optimization and IND-enabling studies for the company’s priority programs that focus on the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy and Friedreich's ataxia. RaNA anticipates having up to two novel therapies in the clinic in 2017.
“We are thrilled to have the support of such a distinguished group of investors and are excited to utilize this investment to devote more resources to our platforms and programs and further build out the capabilities, team and infrastructure necessary to support our evolution towards a clinical organization,” said Ronald Renaud, chief executive officer of RaNA. “Our proprietary platforms for targeting RNA and enabling the body’s own cells to selectively increase protein expression create multiple opportunities to develop novel medicines to treat a broad range of diseases with little or no treatment options today.”
The financing was co-led by MRL Ventures, the early-stage therapeutics fund of Merck & Co., and The Baupost Group, LLC with additional participation from new investors Rock Springs Capital Management, Brookside Capital, Leerink Partners LLC and an undisclosed blue chip public investment fund. Existing investors Atlas Venture, Monsanto, MS Ventures, Omega Funds, Partners Innovation Fund, Pfizer Venture Investments and SR One also participated in the round.
In conjunction with the financing, Joshua Resnick, M.D., president of MRL Ventures, will join the RaNA board of directors.
“On behalf of the RaNA team and myself, we are excited to welcome Josh to the Board,” added Renaud. “Josh brings deeps experience from founding and leading biotechnology start-ups as well as ongoing clinical experience as an attending physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which will provide valuable insights as we move into our next stage of growth.”
“RaNA’s platforms represent a unique opportunity to unlock challenging areas of biology to therapeutic intervention. This investment embodies MRL Ventures’ mission to support entrepreneurs building companies that have the potential to transform human health," said Dr. Resnick. “We are excited to be working with the RaNA team to advance this technology.”
Leerink Partners LLC served as a strategic advisor on the financing.
About RaNA Therapeutics, Inc.
RaNA Therapeutics is pioneering the discovery of a new class of medicines that target RNA to selectively activate protein expression within the body’s own cells. RaNA’s novel drugs work by targeting specific genes to precisely upregulate the expression of beneficial proteins. The company's leadership leverages its preeminent founders and advisors in the field, and the strength of its fundamental patents, technology, and know-how that underlie the discovery and development of therapeutics that selectively activate RNA. RaNA is applying its proprietary technology to rapidly advance a pipeline of novel drugs for diverse therapeutic areas, with an initial emphasis in the fields of rare genetic disorders, inflammation, oncology, metabolic diseases and neurodegenerative diseases. For more information about the company and its drug platform, please visit www.ranarx.com.
Source: RaNA Therapeutics
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