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miRagen Therapeutics Publishes Data Demonstrating that Therapeutic Dosing of miR-15 Family Inhibitor Protects Against Ischemic Injury to the Heart

Results suggest therapeutic targeting could provide protective effects

Study published in today's online edition of Circulation Research

BOULDER, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov 3, 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 demonstrates that microRNA-15 (miR-15) is upregulated in response to ischemic damage in two important model systems and contributes to cardiovascular disease by regulating heart muscle cell death following a heart attack. The research was conducted by miRagen scientists in collaboration with researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

Data from this study further confirm earlier miRagen research indicating that inhibition of miR-15 can spare cardiomyocytes from death during myocardial infarction. Therapeutic dosing of an antimiR targeting miR-15 family members resulted in less heart tissue death and an improvement in cardiac function after a heart attack. A separate miRagen study published in Circulation Research in July 2011 demonstrated that inhibition of miR-15 may stimulate cardiomyogenesis, evidenced by an increased number of mitotic cardiomyocytes in preclinical models of cardiac disease. Taken together, these results indicate that inhibitors of the miR-15 family could provide an unprecedented approach to treatment by providing both protective and regenerative capacities in a single therapeutic agent.

“These findings represent an important step toward optimization of oligonucleotide-based therapies for modulation of cardiac miRNAs,” said Eric N. Olson, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Advisor and Co-founder of miRagen Therapeutics, Inc. “And importantly, this study validates miR-15 as a therapeutic target for the manipulation of cardiac remodeling and function in the setting of ischemic heart disease.”

“We are very pleased to share these data, which suggest that antimiR-15 family therapy may induce a protective effect in response to ischemic cardiac injury by reducing infarct size and cardiac remodeling and by enhancing cardiac function,” said William S. Marshall, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of miRagen Therapeutics, Inc. “Combined with our findings showing that antimiR-15 therapy may also stimulate cardiomyocyte regeneration, these results suggest that inhibition of the miR-15 family represents a compelling dual mechanism approach to disease treatment in an area of significant unmet medical need.”

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., a pre-clinical stage biopharmaceutical company, was founded in 2007 to develop innovative microRNA-based therapeutics for cardiovascular and muscle disease. 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. MiRagen combines world recognized leadership in cardiovascular medicine with unprecedented in-house expertise in microRNA biology and chemistry. In October 2011, miRagen and Les Laboratoires Servier, a leading European pharmaceutical company, entered into a strategic alliance for the research and development of microRNA-based therapeutics in cardiovascular disease.

Posted: November 2011