WATERTOWN and CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 23, 2024- In a significant development for the RNA biotechnology sector, Orna Therapeutics has announced the acquisition of ReNAgade Therapeutics. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
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Background on ReNAgade Therapeutics

ReNAgade Therapeutics, a biotech firm launched in 2023 with a $300 million Series A financing, has quickly made a name for itself in the field of RNA medicines. The company aims to deliver RNA-based therapies to previously inaccessible cells and tissues. ReNAgade utilizes a combination of delivery technologies with gene insertion, coding, and editing tools. Earlier this year, ReNAgade was highlighted in BioSpace’s NextGen Bio Class of 2024 as a startup to watch.

Orna’s Vision and Synergy

Orna Therapeutics, known for its pioneering work in circular RNA therapeutics, was named to BioSpace’s NextGen Bio Class of 2022. In their recent announcement, Orna praised ReNAgade as a “pioneer” in RNA technology, noting the company’s exceptional delivery performance to multiple extra-hepatic cells in non-human primate models over the past 18 months.

 

Leadership Changes

As part of the acquisition, ReNAgade’s CEO, Amit Munshi, will take over as CEO of Orna, succeeding Tom Barnes, who will continue to play a strategic role on Orna’s board of directors and as chair of the scientific advisory board. Munshi expressed his enthusiasm about the merger, stating, “RNA-centric approaches are poised to eclipse traditional cell therapy-based methods and reshape the future of medicine. 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.”

 

Combining Strengths for a Robust Pipeline

Orna’s circular RNA technology will be integrated with ReNAgade’s lipid nanoparticle-based RNA delivery systems and editing programs. The combined entity will have a robust pipeline, including panCAR programs for autoimmune diseases and oncology, genetic disease programs, and a vaccine program in partnership with Merck. In 2022, Orna and Merck established a partnership potentially worth $3.5 billion to explore vaccines and other therapeutic programs using Orna’s technology.

 

Foundations and Financial Strength

Orna was founded in 2021 with a $100 million Series A and a subsequent $221 million Series B in 2022, based on research from Daniel Anderson’s lab at MIT. The company’s technology features synthetic circular RNA designed to overcome the production and performance challenges associated with traditional RNA.

ReNAgade was launched with a substantial $300 million Series A in 2023, bringing together cutting-edge RNA delivery platforms and comprehensive RNA technologies for coding, editing, and gene insertion.

 

Future Prospects

Dr. Tom Barnes, Orna’s founding CEO, emphasized the transformative potential of the merger, stating, “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.”

Ansbert Gadicke, Managing Partner of MPM BioImpact, added, “The fusion of these industry leaders in circular RNA and delivery will transform the landscape of RNA therapeutics and accelerate clinical milestones leading to greater impact for patients living with cancer and autoimmune diseases.”

 

About Orna Therapeutics

Founded on research by Alex Wesselhoeft, Ph.D., and Daniel G. Anderson, Ph.D., from MIT, Orna Therapeutics is dedicated to creating fully engineered circular RNA (oRNA®) therapeutics. Orna’s platform combines novel technology to design circular RNA transcripts with unique delivery solutions, promising improved production, formulatability, and protein expression over traditional mRNA approaches.

 

About ReNAgade Therapeutics

ReNAgade Therapeutics aims to unlock the potential of RNA medicines across the body, leveraging novel RNA delivery platforms and a comprehensive RNA system for coding, editing, and gene insertion to develop groundbreaking therapies.

Source:
https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/orna-therapeutics-announces-strategic-acquisition-of-renagade-therapeutics-to-solidify-leadership-in-circular-rna-therapies-302153347.html
https://www.biospace.com/article/orna-buys-competing-rna-biotech-renagade-after-series-a-financing-/
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