Regulus sets off whirlwind of activity

In a busy week, Regulus Therapeutics signed a microRNA biomarker pact with Biogen Idec ($BIIB), announced an miRNA therapeutics deal with AstraZeneca ($AZN) and filed an IPO of $57.5 million.

The collaboration with Biogen Idec will seek out microRNAs that can be used as blood biomarkers in multiple sclerosis (MS), with potential to stratify patients in clinical trials (Biogen Idec has a range of MS therapeutics on the market and in the clinic), and diagnose and monitor patients with the disease, tracking its progression and relapse.

"Utilizing innovative technology such as biomarkers can help us make more informed decisions earlier in clinical development and is key to our overall company strategy to enhance early-stage discovery efforts," said Steven Holtzman, executive vice president in corporate development at Biogen Idec.

Regulus will get an investment from Biogen Idec, including upfront and milestone payments and access to Biogen Idec's resources and expertise. Not to mention validation of its biomarker know-how.

The therapeutics deal with AstraZeneca also draws on Regulus' miRNA technologies, but will focus on discovering, developing and commercializing miRNA therapeutics against three targets in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and oncology, including Regulus' lead program targeting microRNA-33. Regulus Therapeutics was founded by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals ($ALNY) and Isis Pharmaceuticals ($ISIS).

- read the press release on the AstraZeneca deal
- see the press release on the Biogen Idec deal
- check out the press release on the IPO