aceRNA Technologies Secures 960 million JPY Series B to develop targeted mRNA therapeutics

aceRNA Technologies, a Kyoto-based biotechnology company developing novel engineered mRNA therapeutics using its proprietary technologies such as “RNA Switch™︎”, announced today the closing of a 960 million JPY (approximately 6.1M USD) Series B round by DCI Partners Co., Ltd. (Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan), UTokyo Innovation Platform Co., Ltd. (Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan), Mitsubishi UFJ Capital Co., Ltd. (Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan) and Kyoto Capital Partners Co., Ltd. (Shimogyo, Kyoto, Japan).

The funds will be utilized to advance “targeted mRNA medicines” that enable more precise control of mRNA expression that can mitigate the effects on non-target cells and enhance therapeutic effectiveness and safety, as well as to realize new therapeutic approaches such as in vivo cell reprogramming.

Investors' Comments
Hiroki Narita, President & CEO DCI Partners Co., Ltd.

As the lead investor in this round, we have executed the investment through Daiwa Taiwan-Japan BioVenture Investment Limited Partnership II. We believe that aceRNA Technologies' RNA switch-based expression control technology has the potential to create new therapeutic options through the resolution of issues faced by mRNA drugs. We are very much looking forward to the acceleration of research and development and the progress of this innovative program on a global level through this financing. We are committed to supporting the growth of aceRNA Technologies.

Makoto (Mark) Ohori, Ph.D, Partner and Chief Investment Officer, Life Science, UTokyo Innovation Platform Co., Ltd. (UTokyo IPC).

aceRNA Technologies harnesses its proprietary technologies including the “RNA Switch™︎” to spearhead breakthroughs in the crucial areas of gene therapy and cellular medicine. We are thrilled to collaborate with aceRNA to further develop its cutting-edge platform and therapeutic pipeline for treating a wide variety of diseases.

Mikihiko Shinozaki, Ph.D., Deputy General Manager, Investment Department for Line Science, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital Co., Ltd.

With the success of vaccine development following the outbreak of CoVID-19, mRNA vaccines have quickly entered the clinical application stage. However, mRNA drugs as therapeutic agents have not yet at the stage of clinical use because the technology to precisely control the effect of mRNA drugs on target organ, which is necessary to avoid side effects, is still underdeveloped.

We believe that aceRNA Technologies' technology is highly valuable as it can eliminate the above concerns through the control of on/off of mRNA activity in each organ.

We have decided to make an additional investment in the hope that this fundraising will enable them to take a major step towards clinical application of its technology. We will continue to accompany them in its R&D and business development efforts, with a focus on helping the company make greater in the future.

Yasuhiro Suzumura, Manager, Venture Investment Department Kyoto Capital Partners Co., Ltd.

The coronavirus pandemic has brought mRNA into the forefront of our awareness, aceRNA’s technology can be applied to rapidly growing new drug modalities such as mRNA drugs. We are investing in this company attracted by its potential to become a fundamental technology for mRNA medicine.

By utilizing their proprietary RNA switch technology, it is feasible to control the expression of a transgene only in specific cells. This could reduce safety concerns for non-targeted normal cells, which in turn could lead to the creation of new therapeutic products for diseases for which there is no treatment available. Kyoto Financial Group will continue to support the Company as it pursues such a socially significant initiative.

CEO’s comment (Fumihiro Sugawa, Ph.D.)

We are sincerely grateful to our existing and new investors for their strong support. We have been conducting research on RNA switch (mRNA) before the commercialization of COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. We believe that our achievements and further possibilities have led to their evaluation.

Currently, through active research and development around the world, new therapeutic modalities and targets/ mechanisms of action are being discovered. However, no matter how highly effective a therapy may be, it will not be a viable treatment for patients unless safety concerns are acceptable. We aim to solve this problem through the regulation of mRNA medicine and to realize a new approach to treatments.

About aceRNA Technologies

aceRNA Technologies Co., Ltd. is a biotech startup established in 2018 based on RNA design technology developed through synthetic biology research by Professor Hirohide Saito (Professor, iPS Cell Institute, Kyoto University; Professor, Institute for Quantitative Biosciences, The University of Tokyo). Utilizing proprietary technologies such as RNA Switch, we are working to realize targeted mRNA medicines that regulate its therapeutic effect in cell-type and -state specific manner.

The RNA Switch is integrated into messenger RNA (mRNA) to control mRNA functions, depending on the active status of microRNA (miRNA) in cells. We have developed its own screening technology to acquire miRNA profile of the approximately 2,600 different types of miRNA in humans, which enables to identify target-cell specific miRNA. By combining this technology with the RNA Switch, we are developing mRNA therapy that enables more precise control of treatment than ever before.

Contact Information

aceRNA Technologies Corporate Administration Dept.