12:00 AM
Nov 07, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Servicing CV

miRagen deal: Servier banks on novel drugs to grow cardiovascular business

While some pharmas have concluded cardiovascular disease is well served by generics and are exiting the space, Servier believes it can grow its CV business by in-licensing novel, first-in-class programs.

Last month, Servier agreed to pay $45 million up front to miRagen Therapeutics Inc. to develop and commercialize the biotech's preclinical micro-RNA-targeting agents for cardiovascular disease.

miRagen is eligible for up to $352 million, which includes the upfront, research and near-term milestone payments over the next three years, as well as additional clinical and commercial milestones. Servier also will provide additional development funding, including clinical trials potentially through Phase III, for a total deal value of about $1 billion.

For all this, Servier will have rights only outside the U.S. and Japan, where miRagen retains the rights.

The lead program, AntimiR-208, targets an miRNA encoded by an intron of the myosin heavy chain 6 cardiac muscle alpha (MYH6) gene. Expression of MYH6 and MYH7 controls cardiac contractility. Blocking microRNA-208 (miR-208) could help treat heart failure (see BioCentury, June 16, 2008).

The deal also includes an agent that inhibits miR-15/195 and could both allow for cardiomyocyte regeneration and prevent apoptosis. William Marshall, miRagen's president, CEO and co-founder, expects the agent would be dosed immediately after a patient presents with a myocardial infarction (MI) and then following angioplasty to clear the blockage, as well as "sub-chronically" in patients who suffer an MI.

The partners will identify a third miRNA modulator under the deal.

The miRagen programs use...

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