Orna Therapeutics acquires ReNAgade Therapeutics, appoints new CEO to lead RNA therapeutics innovation

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Orna Therapeutics, a pioneer in the field of circular RNA therapeutics, has officially announced its acquisition of ReNAgade Therapeutics, a company renowned for its significant advancements in RNA delivery systems. This strategic move aims to reshape the landscape of RNA medicine by integrating and amplifying the capabilities and technologies of both entities. Following this acquisition, Amit D. Munshi, previously CEO of ReNAgade, will take the helm of Orna as the new Chief Executive Officer, succeeding Tom Barnes, Ph.D.

Uniting Strengths for Advanced RNA Therapeutic Development

With a focus on leveraging the unique properties of circular RNA (oRNA), Orna Therapeutics has been at the forefront of developing innovative RNA-based medicines. The acquisition of ReNAgade Therapeutics represents a strategic fusion of Orna’s circular RNA expression technologies with ReNAgade’s extensive portfolio of lipid nanoparticle (LNP)-based RNA delivery systems. Amit D. Munshi, the new CEO of Orna, highlighted the combined efforts to pioneer a robust RNA therapeutic-focused research and development engine. He emphasized, “This strategic acquisition unifies Orna’s and ReNAgade’s strengths and capabilities under one roof, expanding technological synergies and multiplying the companies’ depth and breadth of expertise.”

Orna Therapeutics acquires ReNAgade Therapeutics

Orna Therapeutics acquires ReNAgade Therapeutics

Dr. Tom Barnes, who will continue to serve on Orna’s Board of Directors and chair its Scientific Advisory Board, remarked on the merger’s potential to advance panCAR in vivo CAR RNA therapies and enhance gene editing delivery solutions. This strategic alignment is poised to address significant unmet medical needs across multiple diseases.

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Financial Backing and Future Prospects

The merger is supported by substantial financial backing, with Orna and ReNAgade having secured significant financing in recent years. Orna launched with a $100 million Series A financing in February 2021, followed by a $221 million Series B round in August 2022, which included a strategic partnership. ReNAgade started with a $300 million Series A financing in May 2023. The combined entity now boasts a robust pipeline of programs in oncology, autoimmune disease, partnered vaccine programs with Merck, and genetic disease programs.

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Industry experts, including Ansbert Gadicke, M.D., Managing Partner of MPM BioImpact, believe that the merger will catalyze significant advancements in RNA therapeutics, particularly for patients living with cancer and autoimmune diseases. The fusion of these industry leaders in circular RNA and delivery is expected to transform the RNA therapeutics landscape and accelerate clinical milestones.

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Background and Innovations

Orna Therapeutics, co-founded by Alex Wesselhoeft, Ph.D., and Daniel G. Anderson, Ph.D., from MIT, has dedicated itself to a new class of fully engineered circular RNA therapeutics. These therapeutics offer advantages over traditional mRNA, such as simplified production, improved formulatability, and superior protein expression. ReNAgade Therapeutics, on the other hand, has been focused on developing RNA medicines that can treat diseases across the body, using an all-RNA system for coding, editing, and gene insertion.

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