MiRagen Therapeutics Completes Acquisition of Viridian, Raises $91 Million
October 28, 2020
Rare Daily Staff
MiRagen Therapeutics said it completed the acquisition of privately held Viridian Therapeutics and entered into a private placement agreement with a group of institutional investors for $91 million.
Fairmount Funds Management led the financing round with participation from Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners, BVF Partners, Cormorant Asset Management, Perceptive Advisors, Wellington Management, Ally Bridge Group, Logos Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Commodore Capital, Ridgeback Capital, as well as additional undisclosed institutional investors.
The proceeds from the private placement will be used to advance clinical studies of VRDN-001, a clinical-stage insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) monoclonal antibody in development for thyroid eye disease (TED), a debilitating condition that can cause bulging eyes, or proptosis, as well as double vision and potential blindness.
“After a thorough evaluation of strategic alternatives, the board of directors of MiRagen believes this acquisition represents the highest-potential value creation opportunity for MiRagen’s stockholders,” said Jeffrey Hatfield, chairman of MiRagen.
MiRagen’s lead candidate, VRDN-001 will be studied as a potential treatment for patients with TED. More than 100 oncology patients have previously been treated with the antibody in United States and European Union studies under the name AVE-1642, which provided some understanding of its pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile, as well as its safety and tolerability. MiRagen expects to initiate a phase 2 clinical trial of VRDN-001 in TED in 2021.
Worldwide rights to develop and commercialize VRDN-001 for all non-oncology indications that do not use radiopharmaceuticals, including the treatment of TED, were exclusively licensed by Viridian from ImmunoGen. Under the terms of the agreement, ImmunoGen received an upfront payment, and is eligible for additional developmental milestones and mid-single-digit royalty payments.
In parallel with VRDN-001 development, Viridian initiated the VRDN-002 program, which seeks to improve IGF-1R-targeted antibodies by incorporating half-life extension technology to reduce the dose required to achieve full efficacy in TED patients and enhance solubility to achieve the lowest possible injection volume. This program is advancing rapidly and MiRagen expects to apply to be human clinical trials for VRDN-002 in 2021.
In connection with the just announced transactions, a non-transferrable contingent value right is expected to be distributed to holders of MiRagen common stock within the next 30 days. Holders of the CVR will be entitled to receive certain payments from proceeds received by MiRagen, if any, related to the disposition of its legacy microRNA-based assets for a period of five years following the closing of the transaction. MiRagen is actively conducting broad-based outreach to find a partner or to spin-out new enterprises for its legacy microRNA-based programs.
Photo: Jeffrey Hatfield, chairman of MiRagen
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