MiNA Therapeutics Raises $30 Million, Looks to Propel Its Lead Candidate
MiNA Therapeutics announced on Thursday that it has concluded a $30 million Series A financing round, led by aMoon, Israel’s largest health technology and life sciences venture fund. The financing will be used by MiNA to advance the company’s pipeline of proprietary, first-in-class, small activating RNA therapeutics. In addition, funds will be put toward the continued clinical development of MTL-CEBPA, MiNA’s lead candidate.
“Since the inception of MiNA Therapeutics, we have been focused on advancing the Company by validating our innovative therapeutic approach in patients and establishing strategic collaborations with leading academic institutions and industry partners,” said Robert Habib, CEO of MiNA Therapeutics. “This financing represents an important step in our evolution that will not only fund our continued clinical development in patients with cancer but will also enable us to further explore the potential of our pioneering approach in therapeutic areas beyond oncology. We are grateful for the support from our existing investors and are honored to welcome aMoon to MiNA.”
MTL-CEBPA is designed to reduce immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment. It has been studied in clinical trials in more than 70 patients with advanced liver cancer. When used in combination with the standard cancer treatment drug, sorafenib, MTL-CEBPA appeared to improve the rate, duration and depth of response. This was compared to data that was independently reported from other studies examining sorafenib therapy.
“To date, MiNA’s innovative small activating RNA therapeutic approach has demonstrated the potential to modulate previously undruggable targets in difficult-to-treat indications such as liver cancer,” said Dr. Gur Roshwalb, Managing Director at aMoon. “We strongly believe in the potential of this new class of medicines and look forward to collaborating with the team at MiNA to support the continued growth of this technology platform.”
Back in May, MiNA Therapeutics announced top line results from the Phase 1b dose escalation and cohort expansion study, OUTREACH, which looked at how MTL-CEBPA in combination with sorafenib could potentially treat patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC or liver cancer).
According to the trial, the primary endpoints of safety and tolerability for MTL-CEBPA were met when administered either concomitantly or sequentially with sorafenib. Additionally, five participants experienced objective tumor responses, including two complete responses during the combination treatment.
“We are delighted to have confirmed objective tumor responses in a Phase 1b study in advanced liver cancer patients who are poorly served by existing treatments,” said Habib, at the time of the announcement. “Combined with previous positive results, these data suggest that by reducing immune suppression in the tumor microenvironment, MTL-CEBPA may increase the effectiveness of sorafenib standard of care.”
During the trial, both concomitant and sequential treatment regimens were generally well tolerated. The profile of adverse effects was consistent with the known safety profile of each product. Concomitant sorafenib treatment also did not alter the pharmacokinetics of MTL-CEBPA. Treatment was linked to a reduction in both the number of immature immune suppressor cells, as well as genetic markers of immune suppression in patient samples.
MTL-CEBPA is the first therapy to up-regulate CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha (C/EBP-α). This transcription factor acts as a regulator of myeloid cell lineage determination and differentiation. In the past, dysregulated myeloid cells have been examined in several different diseases, and have been identified as a barrier for many therapies to induce clinical responses in solid tumor cancers.