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Miragen

Adding to the difficulty in raising funds, there has also been an increase in the number of companies operating in the miRNA space in recent years, many of which are on the lookout for their share of available investment dollars.

The expected size of the round is not being disclosed. The financing will be "just enough to support a couple programs moving forward and the continued operations of the company," Miragen President and CEO Bill Marshall said.

Miragen will have the right to use Santaris' locked nucleic acid technology in the development of drugs targeting miRNAs related to cardiovascular disease.

While RXi continues to bill itself as an RNAi drug developer, a company official indicated this week that the firm may expand its focus into the miRNA field as it works to meet its goal of defining its areas of therapeutic interest by the end of the second quarter.

Daniel Von Hoff, Steven McKnight, Zachary Zimmerman, Eric Olson, Victor Ambros, Michael Bristow, Thomas Cech, Stephanie Dimmeler, Douglas Mann, Jeffery Molkentin

Miragen Therapeutics, which holds the rights to the discovery, is interested in seeing the work advance. But a company official said that development of a miRNA-targeting drug for ALS would likely only occur in earnest with a partner.

Thomas Hughes

Under the deals, Dicerna and Miragen will have the option to acquire the exclusive rights to drug candidates developed through the alliances.

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Russian CRISPR researcher moves along with plans to ultimately alter the genes of embryos of deaf couples, though awaits regulatory approval, Nature News reports.

University of California, San Francisco, researchers have uncovered a gene mutations that appears to make a father-son duo more efficient sleepers.

NPR reports a large health insurer has begun to cover some pharmacogenetic tests for psychiatric drugs.

In PLOS this week: genome-wide association study of non-syndromic orofacial cleft subtypes, epigenetic and transcriptomic analysis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, and more.