The father-and-son team at MiNA Therapeutics is on a roll.
Just weeks after snagging a $25 million upfront and a treasure map with close to $1.25 billion in milestones from Eli Lilly, the pharma giant is back with a $15 million equity sweetener.
A quiet player for the first decade of its existence, MiNA Therapeutics has been racking up deals and dollars in the past 2 years. In addition to the Lilly pact, AstraZeneca signed up with the Imperial College London spinout along with Servier.
As Endpoints News writer Jason Mast reported in May, the companies have been lured by the research work that Nagy Habib has been doing on small activating RNA: These strands function similarly to the small interfering RNA that has turned Alnylam into a $15 billion company but in reverse, noted Mast. Instead of hijacking cellular machinery to turn the volume down on a gene, they hijack it to turn the volume way up.
If they play their saRNA cards right, the biotech believes it can compete as a major new player alongside RNAi or mRNA.
Nagy Habib’s son, CEO Robert Habib, was already talking up the idea of raising a new round for the company. Now they have a commitment from Lilly to help swell the final tally, with the help of a major league endorsement for the platform play.