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miRagen Therapeutics and Collaborators Identify Critical Role of microRNA-15 in Cardiomyogenesis

Results suggest therapeutic targeting could provide regenerative effects

Data published in Circulation Research


BOULDER, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul 26, 2011 - miRagen Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on improving patients' lives by developing innovative microRNA (miRNA)-based therapeutics for cardiovascular and muscle disease, announced today that new preclinical data published in the online edition of Circulation Research suggests that microRNA-15 (miR-15) inhibits cardiomyogenesis, the process whereby new heart muscle cells are formed. The research, exclusively licensed by miRagen Therapeutics, was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Washington University Center for Pharmacogenomics and miRagen.

The inhibition of miR-15 may actually help to stimulate cardiomyogenesis, evidenced by an increased number of mitotic cardiomyocytes in mouse models of cardiac disease in this study. miRagen previously has shown that inhibition of miR-15 can spare cardiomyocytes from death during myocardial infarction (MI), resulting in less heart tissue death and an improvement in cardiac function after a heart attack.

“This study provides a more robust understanding of miR-15's role in the inhibition of cell proliferation,” said Eric N. Olson, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Advisor and Co-founder of miRagen Therapeutics, Inc. “And further, the findings suggest that fine tuning of cardiac cell cycle genes by miRNAs may be an important regulatory component of heart regeneration and repair.”

“We are very pleased with these results, which suggest that, ultimately, antimiR-15 therapy following a heart attack could potentially be both protective and regenerative,” said William S. Marshall, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of miRagen Therapeutics, Inc. “These findings deepen our understanding of microRNA biology—particularly as they may relate to the heart's post-MI capacity for recovery—and help to advance our mission to develop innovative microRNA-based therapeutics to treat patients afflicted with cardiovascular disease.”

About microRNAs: MicroRNAs have emerged as an important class of small RNAs encoded in the genome. They act to control the expression of sets of genes and entire pathways and are thus thought of as master regulators of gene expression. Recent studies have demonstrated that microRNAs are associated with many disease processes. Because they are single molecular entities that dictate the expression of fundamental regulatory pathways, microRNAs represent potential drug targets for controlling many biologic and disease processes.

About miRagen Therapeutics: miRagen Therapeutics, Inc., was founded in 2007 to develop innovative microRNA-based therapeutics for cardiovascular and muscle disease. Only recently discovered, microRNAs are short, single-stranded RNA molecules encoded in the genome that regulate gene expression and play a vital role in influencing cardiovascular and muscle disease. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death globally and represents an enormous burden on global healthcare systems. Principally funded through venture capital investments, miRagen combines world recognized leadership in cardiovascular medicine with unprecedented in-house expertise in microRNA biology and chemistry. For more information, please visit



Contact: Scout Investor Relations for miRagen
Breanna Burkart, 303-907-5162



Posted: July 2011