Regulus surges after AstraZeneca snags rights to NASH drug

Shares of Regulus spiked 10% ($RGLS) Tuesday afternoon after its Big Pharma partner AstraZeneca stepped up to grab rights to a preclinical drug candidate for NASH with plans to steer it into clinical studies. It's not a big-money deal, at least not initially. AstraZeneca ($AZN) is gaining rights to RG-125 (AZD4076)--one of three therapeutic programs outlined in a three-year-old discovery alliance between the two companies--for $2.5 million. It's also the latest in a string of clinical programs for fatty liver disease, a condition that afflicts a huge and growing patient population. For AstraZeneca, which has been committing big resources to diabetes drugs, the deal today offers a chance to beef up a core pipeline. More from FierceBiotechResearch