MiRagen Therapeutics is joining the ranks of publicly traded companies in the biotechnology industry. But the Boulder, CO-based company has not pulled off a traditional initial public stock offering. Instead, miRagen has signed an agreement to merge with a different biotech company that was already public. This reverse merger with Signal Genetics will result in a single, publicly traded company advancing miRagen’s pipeline of drug candidates.
Under the merger agreement, miRagen shareholders will own approximately 96 percent of the combined company, which will take the miRagen name and keep its Boulder headquarters, Xconomy reported. Shareholders of the former Signal Genetics will own the remaining 4 percent of the combined company. Signal, said it has reached a deal to sell off its main asset, a gene expression test for multiple myeloma, leaving the combined company with miRagen’s clinical-stage compounds.
MiRagen was founded in 2007, supported by investments from Atlas Venture and Boulder Investments. The company’s research focuses on micro RNAs, which are single-stranded RNA molecules that regulate gene expression. The company says that these molecules have an effect on the biological processes in certain diseases, including fibrosis and cardiovascular disease, Xconomy explained. Some microRNAs regulate cells in the blood while other microRNAs affect blood vessel growth. The company’s drug pipeline includes a drug candidate that could treat cancers of the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes. MiRagen is developing second drug candidate as a potential treatment for pathological fibrosis, which is scarring to organ tissue.
Along with the public stock listing, miRagen will also get a capital infusion of $40 million from miRagen’s previous venture capital investors and some new ones, according to Endpoints. That investment and the closing of the merger will leave the combined company with more than $50 million in cash to support clinical trials of its drug candidates.
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