The discovery of miRNAs in the mid-90s has changed the dogma of gene expression regulation. Currently, miRNAs are the main theme of thousands of publications each year and their involvement in human diseases is everyday more deeply understood. With that being known, what are the actual clinical applications of miRNAs and how far are they truly from the patients? To address this question, we reviewed the miRNA diagnostic and therapeutic market. With many companies developing miRNA panels, the activity is high in the diagnostic area. Some products, notably for thyroid cancer (Interpace Diagnostic), are already available to clinician and covered by major insurance companies. In comparison, the therapeutic market, mainly driven by miRNA mimics and antagomiR products, is less advanced. Miravirsen (produced by Roche/Santaris) and RG-101 (produced by Regulus Therapeutics), designed to treat hepatitis C, are considered the flagship products of this class of future drugs. All of the miRNA-based drugs are currently in clinical trials and none have yet reached the pharmaceutical breakthrough. However, acquisition of miRNA-based companies by major pharmas is sending a positive feedback on their potentials. With multiple initiatives on their way, the next years will definitely be determinant for the miRNA market that is still in his infancy.
Keywords: cancer; diagnosis; drug development; microRNA; therapeutics.