MiRagen raises $40.7 million, goes public with Signal Genetics merger

BOULDER — Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company MiRagen Therapeutics Inc. has completed its merger with a publicly traded California company, raising $40.7 million in private equity financing just prior to the deal. MiRagen begins trading Tuesday on the Nasdaq exchange under the ticker symbol “MGEN.”

William Marshall

The Boulder-based company reported the private funding in a Regulation D filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Feb. 13.

The new equity financing came from current and new miRagen investors, including Fidelity Management and Research Co., Brace Pharma Capital, Atlas Venture, Boulder Ventures, JAFCO Co. Ltd., MP Healthcare Venture Management, MRL Ventures (a venture fund of Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada), Remeditex Ventures and others.

Together with pre-merger cash on miRagen’s balance sheet, the combined company has approximately $60 million in cash and short-term investments, the company said in a press release.

MiRagen announced late last year that it was consummating a sort of reverse merger with California-based Signal Genetics Inc. (Nasdaq: SGNL). That deal was to include $40 million in concurrent financing from both existing and new MiRagen investors to help the company advance clinical trials for a pair of drug candidates.

Signal Genetics stockholders on Feb. 10 voted to approve the merger with MiRagen.

“The completion of this merger marks a significant step forward for miRagen, our investors and potentially thousands of patients awaiting a therapeutic option for their conditions,” said miRagen’s president and chief executive, William S. Marshall.  “The equity investment aligns the company’s cash resources with our plan to advance the first two clinical programs into additional trials and to develop a compelling pipeline of targeted product candidates, each focused on patient populations with few clinical options.  We believe these transactions will help us create a more focused and well-financed organization as we build an exciting enterprise, an innovative culture and value for current and future stockholders.”

Each owner of Miragen common stock received approximately 0.7031 shares of Signal common stock, with the combined company having approximately 21.3 million shares outstanding.

As reported previously by BizWest, the merger agreement called for Signal to sell its technology, issue new common stock and acquire MiRagen in an all-stock transaction that results in Miragen shareholders becoming holders of 96 percent of Signal stock.

The merged company subsequently changed its name to Miragen Therapeutics Inc., and its ticker symbol on the Nasdaq exchange was changed to MGEN.

Signal’s directors and executives resigned from the merged company, which will move forward under MiRagen’s current management team, with Marshall serving as president and chief executive.The board of directors of the combined company is comprised of seven members: Bruce Booth, John Creecy, Thomas Hughes, Kevin Koch, Kyle Lefkoff, Joseph Turner and Marshall.

Miragen will operate out of MiRagen’s headquarters in Boulder, where it employs almost 50 people in Boulder.

MiRagen has raised $71 million in funding prior to the new $40.7 million. MiRagen was founded in 2007 and is focused on the discovery and development of microRNA-targeting therapies for various diseases, including cancer, fibrosis and heart disease.

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