BioPharma, Startups

Sirnaomics raises $25 million in Series C1 round for RNAi drug

Firm raises funding for RNAi therapy’s clinical development from group of Chinese funds.

An early-stage company developing RNA-interference therapies for cancers and fibrotic diseases has raised $25 million from several Chinese funds.

Gaithersburg, Maryland-based Sirnaomics said Wednesday it had raised the funding – equivalent to 160 million Chinese yuan – in Series C1 round led by Yuexiu New Industrial Investment, Sangel Biomedical Venture Capital, HuaKong Equity Investment and Qianhai Shenghui Investment.

The company – which also has operations in the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Suzhou – will use the funding to expand its clinical RNAi programs in anti-fibrosis and anti-cancer programs. The company’s lead drug candidate is STP705, an siRNA agent that targets TGF-beta1 and COX-2 in order to inhibit tissue fibrotic activity and tumor activity.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the company’s investigational new drug (IND) application in November 2016 to start a Phase IIa study of STP705 in hypertrophic scar, followed by an IND approval from the China Food and Drug Administration for the same indication in May 2017. The ClinicalTrials.gov registry lists a randomized, placebo-controlled study of 24 patients in hypertrophic scar as actively recruiting participants. The company announced the study’s launch in February 2017.

Sirnaomics plans to file two additional INDs with the US FDA in oncology indications and start clinical trials in the second half of this year, the company said Wednesday.

The global market for RNAi and antisense therapeutics is expected to reach $1.81 billion by 2025, with applicability to a wide variety of diseases, but a potential hurdle in the form of challenges related to drug delivery, according to a report published in March by Grand View Research.

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