MiRagen Therapeutics‘ MRG-201 has reversed fibrosis in mice with pulmonary fibrosis, according to a presentation the company prepared for the 76th annual meeting of the Society for Investigative Dermatology in Portland, Oregon.
The biopharmaceutical firm develops fibrosis treatments that target microRNAs, small molecules that control whether genes are switched on or off. The results miRagen will share at the conference, which started April 26 and ends April 29, will come from pre-clinical trial studies and ongoing Phase 1 trial of MRG-201.
MicroRNAs, also known as miRNAs, have attracted a lot research attention in recent years. Because they control genes’ on and off switches, they are involved in many disease processes. That has prompted researchers to develop treatments that target them.
Researchers believe microRNAs can be controlled to harness diseases such as lung fibrosis, or scarring.
MRG-201 is a synthetic miRNA agonist of microRNA-29b. It is designed to mimic the activity of the miR-29 molecule, which decreases the expression of collagen and other proteins involved in fibrosis.
“We are pleased to present biomarker-focused data on our anti-fibrosis product candidate MRG-201″ at the Portland conference, Dr. William S. Marshall, miRagen’s president and CEO, said in a press release. “The interim molecular and histology results from our ongoing Phase 1 study enhance our belief in the potential of MRG-201 as a therapeutic candidate for the treatment of pathological fibrosis.”
MiRagen’s Phase 1 trial (NCT02603224) is an ongoing, double-blind, placebo-controlled, single- and multiple dose-escalation evaluation of MRG-201’s effectiveness and safety. The goal of the trial is to determine whether MRG-201 can inhibit fibrosis formation. The study also aims to determine the maximum tolerated dose of the therapy.
The 70 healthy participants in the study are receiving single or multiple ascending doses of MRG-201 by injection or a placebo for up to 15 days. Researchers plan a follow-up for up to 28 days after the last dose.
Studies in lab settings and in rodent models indicate that MRG-201 can correct miRNA-29 activity that contributes to fibrosis. The treatment actually reversed fibrosis in a mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis, the company reported.