Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, a Second Generation RNA Interference Company, Completes Second Closing of Series A Financing; Unveils Strategic Focus

2008-07-15 06:30:00

– Company Adds New Investor Abingworth –

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(EMWPresswire)–Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (www.dicerna.com),

an RNA interference company developing novel therapeutics utilizing

proprietary Dicer Substrate Technology, today

announced a second closing of its Series A financing, receiving a total

of $8.4 million in additional venture capital from new investor

Abingworth and existing investors Oxford Bioscience Partners and Skyline

Ventures. With this additional capital, Dicerna has completed a $21.4

million Series A financing round. Pursuant to this second closing,

Vincent J. Miles, Ph.D., venture partner at Abingworth has joined

Dicerna’s board of directors. Prior to Abingworth, Dr. Miles was senior

vice president of business development at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, an

Abingworth portfolio company.

In addition, Dicerna announced its strategic focus in the therapeutic

areas of oncology, metabolic diseases and hepatitis C infection (HCV).

Proceeds from this fundraising will support the advancement of Dicernas

pipeline of RNAi-targeted drugs in these disease areas. In addition to

these internal focus areas, Dicerna expects to broadly utilize its Dicer

Substrate Technology in several additional therapeutic areas, such as

inflammation, immunology, cardiology, and others, through collaborations

with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

Dicernas platform

opens a second doorway into the RNAi space, distinct from current

approaches in terms of both biological pathway and intellectual property,

stated Doug Fambrough, Ph.D., of Oxford Bioscience Partners, and

co-founder and chairman of Dicerna. Dicer

Substrates represent a second generation of RNAi technology with greater

potency, longer duration of action and enhanced potential for

facilitated delivery, making previously undruggable targets accessible.

James C. Jenson, Ph.D., chief executive officer and co-founder of

Dicerna, stated, We are thrilled to welcome

such a highly regarded investor as Abingworth in this financing. In

addition, Dr. Miles deep operating experience

in the biotechnology industry and

familiarity with RNAi is a tremendous asset

and complement to our existing capabilities.

Dicernas Dicer

Substrate Technology offers a new avenue to harness gene silencing and

address the entire transcriptome for drug development,

stated Dr. Miles. Abingworth is excited to

be a part of the Dicerna team, and we look forward to helping the

company maximize the potential of this technology to develop novel,

potent and selective drug candidates for important unmet medical needs.

About RNAi

First described in plants and then in worms, flies and higher organisms,

RNAi works differently in mammals because of the activity of Dicer, a

key enzyme involved in the processing of double-stranded RNA into siRNA.

In humans, Dicer optimally processes double-stranded RNA

oligonucleotides of 25 to 30 base pairs, resulting in a 5-to-100-fold

more potent activity and longer duration of action.

About Dicerna

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals is a private, venture-backed RNAi-focused

biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutic agents in

multiple disease areas based on its proprietary Dicer Substrate

Technology platform. Dicerna is developing novel RNAi-based therapies

that use an earlier step in the gene silencing process, namely the

engagement of the enzyme Dicer, which is a natural initiation point for

the RNAi cascade. This approach results in the knockdown of expression

of a targeted gene in a way that is highly selective, specific and more

potent than other RNAi approaches. The Dicer Substrate Technology is

based on intellectual property that is both broadly enabling and

distinct from other IP in the field. Dicerna is based in Cambridge,

Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.dicerna.com.

About Abingworth

Abingworth is an international life sciences investment firm active on

both sides of the Atlantic with offices in London, Cambridge (UK), Menlo

Park (California) and Boston. Founded in 1973, the company invests

across all stages of development, including early-stage as well as

public companies. Abingworth has provided backing for more than 100

unquoted life science businesses. Over 70% of these have gone public or

have merged or been acquired. Abingworth has funds under management of

over $1.4 billion. For more information, please visit www.abingworth.com.

About Oxford Bioscience Partners

Oxford Bioscience Partners (OBP), established in 1992, is a venture

capital firm that provides equity financing and management assistance to

emerging, entrepreneurial-driven companies within the life sciences and

healthcare sectors. Experienced partners, who bring together deep domain

knowledge in life sciences, have established a proven track record of

identifying, validating and backing emerging trends and technologies.

While willing to consider an investment in a company at almost any

stage, OBP brings unique value and expertise to early-stage situations.

With approximately $1B of committed capital under management, OBP has

invested in over 140 life science companies worldwide, and has

successfully leveraged the extensive research, operating, and financial

expertise and experience of its team of investment professionals. For

more information, please visit www.oxbio.com.

About Skyline Ventures

Skyline Ventures, formed in 1997, is a nationally-known venture capital

firm that specializes in hands on investing in outstanding

product-focused healthcare companies. Areas of investment interest

include small molecule and protein therapeutics; medical devices; and

technologies that facilitate drug discovery and life science research.

In 2007 Skyline raised Skyline V, which has $350 million in committed

capital, and the firm has approximately $800 million under management.

For more information, visit www.skylineventures.com.

Dicerna Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Martin Williams, 617-621-8097
SVP

& Chief Business Officer
or
Pure Communications
Michele

Rozen, 617-730-8284

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