Deals, New Capital

Fresh from grabbing Shire’s mRNA work, RaNA discloses a $51M raise

Ron Renaud, RaNA CEO

RaNA Therapeutics is well along the way to financing its next stage of development. A day after the RNA specialist took formal control of Shire’s 9-year-old program for messenger RNA, the biotech disclosed $51 million in fresh financing in an SEC filing.

RaNA CEO Ron Renaud told me last week that he was halfway through the process of raising a “substantial” sum for the company as it boosted its employee roster to more than 60 staffers, up from 48. And by that calculation, he’s now well along the way to raising a mega-round for RaNA.

The Cambridge, MA-based RaNA gained two preclinical mRNA programs from Shire that are poised to enter the clinic in the near future, with a shot at launching clinical programs on cystic fibrosis and urea cycle disorders in H1 2018.

Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov

The deal with Shire put RaNA in the running in a new field: Instructing cells to produce therapeutic proteins, a complex but potentially revolutionary way to make medicines. In an interview with me at JP Morgan on Monday, Shire CEO Flemming Ornskov noted that the deal with RaNA “secured an opportunity to get it back” in certain cases. But he didn’t specify the terms in the deal.

Shire secured an equity interest in RaNA in exchange for its mRNA work, but neither company disclosed how much of a stake the Lexington, MA-based biotech came away with.

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