miRagen Therapeutics (MGEN) inks acquisition deal, up 70%

miRagen Therapeutics (MGEN) today announced it has completed the acquisition of Viridian Therapeutics a privately held biotechnology company focused on advancing new treatments for patients with diseases that are underserved by today’s therapies. Concurrent with the acquisition of Viridian, miRagen entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of Series

A non-voting convertible preferred stock (Series A preferred stock) in a private placement to a group of institutional accredited investors led by Fairmount Funds Management with participation from Venrock Healthcare Capital Partners, BVF Partners L.P., Cormorant Asset Management, Perceptive Advisors, Wellington Management, Ally Bridge Group, Logos Capital, Surveyor Capital (a Citadel company), Commodore Capital, and Ridgeback Capital, as well as additional undisclosed institutional investors.

The private placement is expected to result in gross proceeds to miRagen of approximately $91 million before deducting placement agent and other offering expenses. The proceeds from the private placement are intended to be used primarily to advance clinical studies of VRDN-001, a clinical-stage insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) monoclonal antibody (mAb) 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. My sincere thanks and appreciation to our Board members and management team, both past and present, along with our investors for their support and commitment,” said Jeffrey S. Hatfield, Chairman of the Board of Directors of miRagen. “We are excited by the potential for VRDN-001 to become a meaningful treatment option for patients living with TED.”

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 US and EU studies, under the name AVE-1642, enabling some understanding of its pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile, as well as its safety and tolerability. Pending feedback from regulatory authorities, 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, Inc. 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 file an Investigational New Drug application for VRDN-002 in 2021.

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Jay Lorrence
Investor of 12 years and Managing Editor of Money Midnight, a news outlet focused on highly profitable investment ideas and bold underground research.
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