miRagen Therapeutics Chief Scientific Advisor Wins the American Heart Association National Research Achievement Award
miRagen Therapeutics, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of breakthrough therapies for cardiovascular and muscle disease based on microRNA biology, today announced that its Chief Scientific Advisor and co-founder, Eric N. Olson, Ph.D., received the American Heart Association National Research Achievement Award. Dr. Olson, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, was honored for making major discoveries identifying molecular mechanisms that control normal and abnormal growth and development of the heart and cardiovascular system. In addition, he presented the American Heart Association Plenary Distinguished Scientist Lecture titled, “MicroRNA Control of Heart Disease: From New Biology to New Therapeutics,” at the Association’s Scientific Sessions 2008. miRagen Therapeutics is commercializing the fundamental discoveries made in Olson’s laboratory on microRNAs whose dysregulation is associated with cardiovascular and muscle disease.
“We are extremely pleased that Eric received this well-deserved recognition for a lifetime of innovation in cardiovascular biology,” said William S. Marshall, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of miRagen Therapeutics, Inc. “miRagen is intensely focused on leveraging Eric’s pioneering work in cardiovascular disease associated microRNAs to create novel therapies for cardiovascular and muscle disorders. His contributions as our Chief Scientific Advisor are invaluable in translating these exciting new findings into meaningful treatments for heart failure patients.”
“The magnitude, sophistication and impact of the discoveries made in Eric Olson’s laboratory are extraordinary,” said American Heart Association President Timothy J. Gardner, M.D. “His groundbreaking work has revealed an astonishing array of genes and regulatory pathways involved in cardiac cell growth and represents fundamental research at its finest. This gifted scientist has redrawn battle lines in the fight against disease.”
About microRNAs: MicroRNAs have emerged as an important class of small RNAs encoded in the genome. They act in a combinatorial manner to control the expression of sets of genes and entire pathways and are thus thought of as master regulators of gene expression. Recent studies have demonstrated that mis-regulation of microRNA expression is correlated with many disease states. Because they are single molecular entities that dictate the expression of fundamental regulatory pathways, they represent potential therapeutic intervention targets of unprecedented power.
About miRagen Therapeutics: miRagen Therapeutics was founded in 2007 to exploit recent discoveries showing that specific perturbations in microRNA expression are correlated with various forms of cardiovascular and muscle disease. miRagen’s Founders and scientists combine a strong knowledge of cardiovascular medicine with deep understanding of microRNA biology and chemistry. The company controls an estate of intellectual property focused on the treatment of cardiovascular and muscle disease through microRNA manipulation. miRagen Therapeutics, Inc., is financed through venture investments from Atlas Venture and Boulder Ventures Ltd.