Regulus Therapeutics

Ticker: RGLS
IPO price: $4
Oct. 23 close: $4.84
Percentage gain: 21%

Regulus ($RGLS) traveled a more typical route to the public markets this month, at least on the pricing front. The microRNA drug specialist slashed its proposed IPO share price and increased the number of shares in the offering to complete the deal. The modest starting share price gives the San Diego-based biotech a lot of room for growth, and the shares have already crept up nicely since the maiden public offering.

Unlike Kythera ($KYTH) and Intercept ($ICPT), Regulus has no drugs in clinical trials and has hit the public market with a slate of preclinical candidates and a lineup of Big Pharma alliances focused on microRNA drugs for a range of diseases. MicroRNA drugs offer the potential to impact the activity of multiple genes involved in diseases, yet none of the experimental therapies in the field has been approved. In Regulus' preclinical pipeline, there are multiple potential game changers but also high technical risks because of the lack of evidence on their safety and effectiveness in humans.

Regulus, formed in 2007 with asset from Isis ($ISIS) and Alnylam ($ALNY), has said that it plans to make its first IND filings with regulators in 2014, putting the company years away from gaining human clinical trial data and even further from any potential drug sales revenue from candidates in its pipeline. However, the biotech has deals in place with such pharma heavyweights as GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), Sanofi ($SNY), AstraZeneca ($AZN) and Biogen Idec ($BIIB) that will help fund its programs through the long and expensive slog of clinical development.

As planned, Regulus completed its IPO with lots of help from its biopharma partners, which have a vested interest in the long-term success of the biotech not only to see their stock in company appreciate but in some cases to gain new products themselves from Regulus' microRNA therapeutics pipeline.

For more:
Regulus Therapeutics files for $58M IPO
Regulus teams with Biogen to develop MS diagnostic
AstraZeneca hands over $28M to team with Regulus on cardio pact
Regulus, UC San Diego team on microRNA

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