Regulus pairs with Sanofi in $750M microRNA pact

Regulus Pharmaceuticals is partnering up with Sanofi-Aventis in a $750 million microRNA discovery and development deal, garnering $25 million of that upfront with the promise of a $10 million equity payment. Launched with the backing of Alnylam and Isis, Regulus also obtained an option on a broader R&D alliance that would be worth $50 million.

Billed as the largest microRNA partnership yet formed, Sanofi and Regulus will collaborate on four microRNA targets, focusing on fibrosis. And the package includes Regulus's lead microRNA program for fibrosis. Sanofi will also provide R&D support for the program.

"MicroRNAs are believed to be extremely important in human development and physiology," said Sanofi R&D chief Marc Cluzel. "Together with Regulus we will develop therapeutics which could potentially open a new paradigm in the treatment of major diseases and could offer an attractive new therapeutic approach for patients."

Regulus, a 2008 Fierce 15 company, came out of the gate with strong backing and an earnest desire to strike major pharma partnerships at a very early stage. Soon after it was launched in 2007, the developer inked a $600 million deal with GlaxoSmithKline. MicroRNA is believed to regulate the expression of about a third of all genes, offering a new approach to treating diseases.

- here's the release from Regulus
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