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Posted: February 3, 2009
Mirna and MD Anderson Cooperate on miRNA Therapeutics
(Nanowerk News) Mirna Therapeutics (“Mirna”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Asuragen, Inc., and
The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Science Park Research Center in Smithville have entered into
a collaboration to investigate microRNAs in human prostate cancer. The principal investigators for the study are
Dean Tang, M.D., Ph.D, Associate Professor, Division of Carcinogenesis and Adjunct Associate Professor, College of
Pharmacy, The University of Texas and David Brown, Ph.D, Director of Discovery, from Mirna.
Dr. Tang has been a pioneer in identifying and characterizing prostate cancer stem cells and evaluating their role
in the initiation, progression, and metastasis of human prostate cancer. Dr. Tang is actively pursuing therapeutic
strategies for inducing senescence and apoptosis in prostate cancer stem cells. Dr. Brown brings several years
experience developing technologies for the isolation, detection, and functional characterization of small RNA
including microRNAs (miRNAs). He has been applying these technologies at Mirna and Asuragen to identify miRNAs
as diagnostic and therapeutic targets in human diseases, particularly cancer.
“We are excited about the therapeutic collaboration with M. D. Anderson,” said Matt Winkler, Ph.D., CEO/CSO of
Mirna, “Combining M. D. Anderson’s extensive knowledge of prostate cancer biology with Asuragen’s expertise
using miRNA with therapeutic potential could lead to improved treatment options for prostate cancer.”
About Mirna Therapeutics
Mirna Therapeutics, a wholly owned subsidiary of Asuragen, Inc., is focused on the development and commercialization
of microRNA (miRNA) therapeutics. It has a substantial body of pending intellectual property around
miRNAs developed by its own scientists as well as in-licensed from other institutions. Mirna scientists (while at
Asuragen), along with their Yale collaborators have shown that a particular miRNA, let-7, plays a fundamental role
in lung cancer and that introduction of let-7 using a viral vector results in a reduction of tumor load in an animal
model (Esquela-Kerscher et al. Cell Cycle, March 15, 2008). Mirna Therapeutics, founded in 2007, is located in
Austin, Texas. For more information, visit www.mirnatherapeutics.com.
About Asuragen, Inc.
Asuragen is a fully integrated diagnostic company and molecular biology service provider, focused on molecular
oncology and genetic diseases, with emphasis on microRNA (miRNA). Asuragen’s current diagnostic product
portfolio consists of Signature® Genetic Testing and Oncology Testing products as well as industry leading controls
and standards engineered using its patented Armored RNA® technology. Asuragen is empowered with a high level
of scientific expertise and assay development along with a well developed business infrastructure, GLP testing
services and an established cGMP manufacturing facility that allows it to span the spectrum of discovery, testing,
production and commercialization. Asuragen is dedicated to developing new technologies that will become
cutting edge clinical products. More information is available at the Company’s website: www.asuragen.com.