Santaris Pharma announced that the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation (ATF) has awarded a grant of €1.35 million towards the development of the first ever drug targeted against a human microRNA.
The drug candidate, SPC3649, is an antagonist of the liver-specific microRNA-122 and is being developed by Santaris in collaboration with the Centre for Biological Sequence Analyses at the Technical University of Denmark and the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, University of Copenhagen.
This is the second award from the Danish ATF to the Santaris Pharma led consortium. In 2006 the ATF made a grant to Santaris and the University of Copenhagen of €1.3m, to support research in the rapidly evolving field of microRNA therapeutics.
Announcing the award, Sakari Kauppinen, Santaris Pharma’s Associate Director of MicroRNA Research, commented, "The entire field of molecular biology and medicine has been thrown wide open in recent years by the discovery of microRNAs. Santaris Pharma’s LNA technology has unique advantages in developing potential breakthrough drugs acting on disease-associated microRNAs."
Kauppinen continued, “We are delighted that the Danish Advanced Technology Foundation has recognised the scientific and commercial potential of our world leading position in this field. SPC3649 may well become the first microRNA antagonist drug to be tested in human clinical trials.”