Regulus Therapeutics has signed up another Big Pharma player to its roster of marquee microRNA partners. AstraZeneca ($AZN) will fork over $28 million in equity and an upfront fee to collaborate on three targets, including a lead program that will be explored for its potential to treat atherosclerosis.
In the deal Regulus--which was spun out of Alnylam and Isis five years ago--will take on the preclinical work involved in exchange for some unspecified preclinical milestones as they work on metabolic ailments, cancer and atherosclerosis. The deal includes a lead program targeting microRNA-33, which boasts a unique mechanism for controlling cholesterol levels. AstraZeneca will step up to manage any clinical programs that are moved up the chain.
For AstraZeneca, the pact marks the latest in a rapid-fire series of deals as it scrambles to beef up a weak pipeline. Regulus, meanwhile, has attracted another big name to the promise of regulating gene expression through microRNAs. GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) has collaborated with the biotech on hepatitis C work while Sanofi ($SNY) signed on to a $750 million deal on fibrosis. The San Diego-based biotech was named a Fierce 15 company in 2008.
"Through this collaboration we will marry Regulus' expertise in the microRNA field with our own internal drug development experience with the goal of bringing new treatment options to patients with atherosclerosis-related disease, metabolic disturbances, cancer and potentially other therapeutic areas of interest to AstraZeneca," noted Gunnar Olsson, vice president and head of AstraZeneca's cardiovascular and gastrointestinal innovative medicines unit, in a statement.
- here's the press release
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Regulus secures another big name partner in AZ. Is this CV-focused deal the most likely to succeed?
Input from @JohnCFierce, others
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