LA JOLLA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Regulus Therapeutics Inc. announced today the appointment of James Karras, Ph.D. as senior director of immunology. Dr. Karras is responsible for leading the immunology discovery and research efforts at Regulus including the immuno-inflammatory alliance with GlaxoSmithKline.
“We are pleased to welcome Jim to Regulus as he uniquely combines significant expertise in oligonucleotide therapeutics with a deep knowledge of immunology,” said Kleanthis G. Xanthopoulos, Ph.D., President and CEO of Regulus. “Jim augments the expertise already in place at Regulus as we continue to advance the field of microRNA therapeutics and move forward a pipeline of partnered and proprietary candidates toward the clinic.”
Dr. Karras is a trained immunologist with research interests in molecular immunology and allergy and asthma. Prior to joining Regulus, he was senior director of clinical science at Altair Therapeutics, a development stage biotechnology company focused on oligonucleotide therapeutics for respiratory diseases. In addition, Dr. Karras spent 10 years at Isis Pharmaceuticals most recently as director of inflammation drug discovery. He received his B.A. in microbiology from the University of California, San Diego and Ph.D. in pharmacology & toxicology from the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA.
The discovery of microRNA in humans is one of the most exciting scientific breakthroughs in the last decade. microRNAs are small RNA molecules, typically 20 to 25 nucleotides in length that do not encode proteins but instead regulate gene expression. Nearly 700 microRNAs have been identified in the human genome, and more than one-third of all human genes are believed to be regulated by microRNAs. As a single microRNA can regulate entire networks of genes, these molecules are considered the master regulators of the genome. microRNAs have been shown to play an integral role in numerous biological processes including the immune response, cell-cycle control, metabolism, viral replication, stem cell differentiation and human development. Most microRNAs are conserved across multiple species indicating the evolutionary importance of these molecules as modulators of critical biological pathways. Indeed, microRNA expression or function has been shown to be significantly altered in many disease states, including cancer, heart failure and viral infections. Targeting microRNAs with anti-miRs, antisense oligonucleotide inhibitors of microRNAs, or miR-mimics, double-stranded oligonucleotides to replace microRNA function, opens the possibility of a novel class of therapeutics and a unique approach to treating disease by modulating entire biological pathways. To learn more about microRNAs please visit http://www.regulusrx.com/microrna/microrna-explained.php
About Regulus Therapeutics Inc.
Regulus Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company leading the discovery and development of innovative new medicines targeting microRNAs. Regulus is using a mature therapeutic platform based on technology that has been developed over 20 years and tested in greater than 5,000 human subjects. In addition, Regulus works with a broad network of academic collaborators and leverages oligonucleotide drug discovery and development expertise from its founding companies Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:ALNY) and Isis Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:ISIS). Regulus is advancing microRNA therapeutics towards the clinic in several areas including hepatitis C infection, immuno-inflammatory diseases, fibrosis, oncology, and cardiovascular/metabolic diseases. Regulus’ intellectual property estate contains both the fundamental and core patents in the field and includes over 600 patents and more than 300 pending patent applications pertaining primarily to chemical modifications of oligonucleotides targeting microRNAs for therapeutic applications. In April 2008, Regulus entered into a major alliance with GlaxoSmithKline to discover and develop microRNA therapeutics for immuno-inflammatory diseases. In February 2010, Regulus entered into a new collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline to develop and commercialize microRNA therapeutics targeting microRNA-122 for the treatment of Hepatitis C Viral infection. In June 2010, sanofi-aventis and Regulus entered into the largest-to-date strategic alliance for the development of microRNA therapeutics. This alliance is focused initially on fibrosis. For more information, visit http://www.regulusrx.com
This press release includes forward-looking statements regarding the future therapeutic and commercial potential of Regulus’ business plans, technologies and intellectual property related to microRNA therapeutics being discovered and developed by Regulus. Any statement describing Regulus’ goals, expectations, financial or other projections, intentions or beliefs is a forward-looking statement and should be considered an at-risk statement. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties, particularly those inherent in the process of discovering, developing and commercializing drugs that are safe and effective for use as human therapeutics, and in the endeavor of building a business around such products. Such party’s forward-looking statements also involve assumptions that, if they never materialize or prove correct, could cause their results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Although these forward-looking statements reflect the good faith judgment of the management of Regulus, these statements are based only on facts and factors currently known by Regulus. As a result, you are cautioned not to rely on these forward-looking statements. These and other risks concerning Regulus’ programs are described in additional detail in each of Isis’ and Alnylam’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009 and their most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q, which are on file with the SEC. Copies of these and other documents are available from either Isis or Alnylam.
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