Rosetta Genomics, a developer and provider of microRNA-based molecular diagnostics and therapeutics, and Marina Biotech, a nucleic acid-based drug discovery and development company focused on rare diseases, have established a strategic alliance to identify and develop microRNA-based products designed to diagnose and treat various neuromuscular diseases and dystrophies.
The alliance is exclusive as it relates to neuromuscular diseases and dystrophies, with both companies free to develop and collaborate outside this field both during and after the terms of the alliance. The companies' initial efforts are expected to focus on Becker and Duchenne muscular dystrophies as well as myotonic dystrophy. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Rosetta will apply its microRNA discovery experience for the identification of microRNAs involved in the various dystrophy diseases. If the microRNA is determined to be correlative to the disease, Rosetta may further develop the microRNA into a diagnostic for patient identification and stratification. If the microRNA is determined to be involved in the disease pathology and represents a potential therapeutic target, Marina may develop the resulting microRNA-based therapeutic for clinical development.
"We are delighted to have the opportunity to apply our microRNA expertise with Marina's single- and double-stranded nucleic acid therapeutics in order to isolate specific microRNA biomarkers for the development of diagnostics and therapies for a variety of dystrophies. These rare diseases remain a significant unmet medical need," said Kenneth A. Berlin, president and CEO of Rosetta Genomics. "Targeted diagnostics to identify potential responders/non-responders for specific therapies would mark a significant advance for these patients as dystrophies are degenerative diseases that accelerate over time. In addition, current treatment options are sub-optimal and costly. We believe the development of a diagnostic that can accurately predict response to therapy will bring effective treatment to dystrophy patients earlier and with significant cost savings."