RARE Daily

Orna Acquires Renagade to Solidify Leadership in Circular RNA Therapies

May 23, 2024

Rare Daily Staff

Orna Therapeutics, a company dedicated to designing and delivering a new class of fully engineered circular RNA therapeutics, has acquired Renagade Therapeutics, a pioneer in unlocking the potential of RNA therapeutics that can be delivered to multiple extra-hepatic cells.

“Orna remains singularly focused on developing the right tools and technologies and building the right company to power an entirely new class of RNA-based medicines,” said Tom Barnes, founding CEO of Orna Therapeutics. “The combination of technologies positions Orna to advance best-in-class panCAR in vivo CAR RNA therapies and expand existing gene editing delivery solutions with circular RNA to address the massive unmet need in multiple diseases.”

Orna will advance an approach that combines the company’s circular RNA expression technology with Renagade’s broad portfolio of LNP-based RNA delivery systems and comprehensive editing programs to develop solutions for challenging unmet needs.

Amit Munshi, CEO of Renagade, and former president and CEO of Arena Pharmaceuticals, will succeed Tom Barnes as CEO of Orna. Barnes will retain his position on Orna’s Board of Directors and serve as chair of its Scientific Advisory Board.

“RNA-centric approaches are poised to eclipse traditional cell therapy-based methods and reshape the future of medicine,” said Munshi. “This strategic acquisition unifies Orna’s and Renagade’s strengths and capabilities under one roof, expanding technological synergies and multiplying the companies’ depth and breadth of expertise to drive a unique RNA therapeutic-focused R&D engine.”

Built by venture firm MPM BioImpact, both Orna and Renagade bring significant financing. Orna launched with $100 million in series A financing in February 2021, subsequently announcing in August 2022 a $221 million Series B in addition to a strategic partnership. Renagade launched in May 2023 with $300 million series A financing. The combined company will have a robust pipeline with panCAR programs in oncology and autoimmune disease, vaccine programs partnered with Merck, and genetic disease programs.

Orna is dedicated to designing and delivering a new class of fully engineered circular RNA (oRNA) therapeutics with the potential to change the way we treat disease. Orna’s proprietary platform combines novel technology to design circular RNA transcripts that drive protein expression with validated delivery solutions, and advantages over traditional mRNA approaches, including simplified production, improved formulations, and superior protein expression.

Renagade’s mission is to unlock the potential for RNA medicines to treat disease anywhere in the body. It’s comprehensive RNA platform allows for an all-RNA system for coding, editing, and gene insertion to develop new medicines.


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