Investors flood Miragen after acquisition, shift to eye-disease treatment

BOULDER — MiRagen Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: MGEN) has acquired privately held Veridian Therapeutics Inc., marking a shift to focus on thyroid-related eye diseases.

In filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Boulder biopharmaceutical company said it will acquire the Massachusetts company in an all-stock deal and raise up to $90.97 million in a private-investment-in-public-equity offering, giving the company a cash runway through 2023.

Veridian’s co-founder Jonathan Violin has been named Miragen’s chief operating officer under the combination.

Veridian’s main drug candidate, VRDN-001, is meant to treat eye problems such as bulging generated by Graves’ Disease or other conditions caused by an overactive thyroid gland. Under Miragen, the drug is expected to enter Phase II trials next year.

In an investor presentation deck, the company said it now intends to develop drugs for diseases that have few approved therapies and highly motivated patients.

Miragen’s deal was foreshadowed in September, when co-founder and former CEO Bill Marshall stepped down and Miragen said it would begin a review of its current drug candidates and the possibility of acquiring a business or being acquired itself.

It also likely marks the end of cobomarsen, a lymphoma treatment candidate, as a Miragen project. The drug missed the mark in Phase II trials earlier this month.

The company’s stock skyrocketed 159% in pre-market trading Wednesday to as high as $1.18 per share. The movement of the stock’s price and trading volume triggered the Nasdaq’s five-minute cooldown rule at 8:15 a.m. Mountain Time, with as much as 3.6 million shares trading in the span of a minute.

It closed the day at $1.26 per share, an increase of 142.35% over yesterday’s closing price.

BOULDER — MiRagen Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: MGEN) has acquired privately held Veridian Therapeutics Inc., marking a shift to focus on thyroid-related eye diseases.

In filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Boulder biopharmaceutical company said it will acquire the Massachusetts company in an all-stock deal and raise up to $90.97 million in a private-investment-in-public-equity offering, giving the company a cash runway through 2023.

Veridian’s co-founder Jonathan Violin has been named Miragen’s chief operating officer under the combination.

Veridian’s main drug candidate, VRDN-001, is meant to treat eye problems such as bulging generated by Graves’ Disease or other conditions caused by an overactive thyroid gland. Under Miragen, the drug is expected to enter Phase II trials next year.

In an investor presentation deck, the company said it now intends to develop drugs for diseases that have few approved therapies and highly motivated patients.

Miragen’s deal was foreshadowed in September, when co-founder and former CEO Bill Marshall stepped down and Miragen said it would begin a review of its current drug candidates and the possibility of acquiring a business or being acquired itself.

It also likely marks the end of cobomarsen, a lymphoma treatment candidate, as a Miragen project. The drug missed the mark in Phase II trials earlier this month.

The company’s stock skyrocketed 159% in pre-market trading Wednesday to as high as $1.18 per share. The movement of the stock’s price and trading volume triggered the Nasdaq’s five-minute cooldown rule at 8:15 a.m. Mountain Time, with as much as…