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MicroRNA mimics for the treatment of pneumonia

miR302-mimic is a therapeutic compound that accelerates regeneration of alveolar epithelial cells for treatment of bacterial pneumonia. Unlike standard treatment with antibiotics, which eliminate only the bacterial infection, this product would accelerate healing of the lungs to improve patient recovery time and could be given in conjunction with antibiotics.

Technology Overview:

Bacterial pneumonia is a leading cause of serious infection and death in children and the elderly worldwide. Even with antibiotic treatment, patients may become severely ill and require hospitalization and intensive care, followed by a prolonged recovery period. Recovery requires both eradication of the bacterial infection as well as repair to alveolar epithelial cells (AECs) caused by the infection. Failure to repair this damage increases susceptibility to recurring infection and increases the risk of development of chronic and progressive lung diseases including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema.

Researchers in the laboratory of Dr. Hao Shen at the University of Pennsylvania in collaboration with Dr. Ying Tian at Temple University identified that increased expression of microRNA (miRNA) from the miR302 family coincided with regeneration of AECs. miRNA-mimics are double-stranded RNA molecules intended to “mimic” native miRNAs. The Shen Lab found that administration of miR302-mimics to mice infected with bacterial pneumonia improves AEC regeneration and lung function, and enhances mouse recovery and survival.

Addition of exogenous miR302 by miRNA mimics increases proliferation of lung progenitor cells and accelerates the repair of lung injury, which is expected to shorten patient recovery times. miR302-mimics could potentially be administered in conjunction with antimicrobial therapy to improve patient outcomes. This approach may also provide long-term benefits by reducing severe chronic pathological conditions, such as COPD, which are associated with repeated lung infections, injuries and defects in tissue regeneration.


  • Speeds regeneration of AECs
  • Expected to reduce patient recovery time from bacterial pneumonia
  • May accelerate treatment of injuries to lungs resulting from other causes


  • Treatment of injured lungs
  • Treatment of bacterial pneumonia

Mice treated with miR302 show improved rates of survival (left) and faster recovery of body weight (right) than control mice. The image was taken from Wang et al. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 2019 [ahead of print].

Stage of Development:

Proof of concept demonstrated in mice

Intellectual Property:

Provisional Patent Application Filed

Reference Media:

Desired Partnerships:

  • License
  •  Co-development (this replaces collaboration or sponsored research)

Patent Information:


Docket # 17-8344

For Information, Contact:

Jessica Casciano Licensing Officer, PSOM Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania
(215) 573-5414