Marina Biotech Finds $15M From Investor to Keep Pursuing RNAi Drugs

10/17/11Follow @xconomy

Marina Biotech has found a way to extend its runway a little longer, by finding a single investor willing to pump in another $15 million.

The Bothell, WA-based company (NASDAQ: MRNA), the developer of RNA interference drugs, said today in a regulatory filing that Lincoln Park Capital Fund has agreed to invest as much as $15 million over the next 30 months in Marina Biotech. The company said it will control the timing and amount of shares sold to Lincoln Park, which will be based on the market prices at the time. Marina has agreed to sell a maximum of 17.9 million new shares to the firm, according to the filing. Lincoln Park has no right to acquire Marina, according to a company statement.

“LPC has participated in the past as an institutional investor in Marina and we look forward to working with them as a financial partner,” said Michael French, Marina’s CEO, in a statement. “This commitment by LPC provides additional financial flexibility as we continue our research and development efforts.”

Getting access to that new line of cash will help Marina buy a little more time when its cash has been running low, during a bleak period for RNA interference companies. Marina had just $5.9 million in cash left at the end of June, according to its most recent quarterly report. In the same quarter, the company had a net loss of $3.6 million. Early in September, Marina said its chief financial officer and chief scientific officer were both stepping down as part of a broader reshuffling of management responsibilities. The company’s slim cash position at the end of the second quarter prompted Marina’s auditor to issue an opinion raising doubts about the company’s ability to continue as a “going concern.” Earlier this month, the company said it was able to terminate the lease on one of its buildings in Bothell in order to preserve cash.

Shares of Marina rose 5 cents, to 19 cents, after the deal was announced.

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