Regulus Therapeutics Inc., founded by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(Nasdaq: ALNY) and Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ISIS), announced
today that it has obtained exclusive rights from the California
Institute of Technology to inventions made in the laboratory of David
Baltimore, Ph.D. covering methods and compositions for modulating
microRNA-146 and microRNA-155. Dr. Baltimore and his colleagues have
shown that microRNAs miR-146 and miR-155 are key mediators of the
inflammatory response. Modulation of these microRNAs could lead to a new
method of treating immune-inflammatory disease.
“We are very pleased to obtain exclusive worldwide rights to this
intellectual property from California Institute of Technology, as it
builds on our strategy of consolidating and controlling the key
intellectual property needed for the development of microRNA
therapeutics,” said Kleanthis G. Xanthopoulos, Ph.D., President and
Chief Executive Officer of Regulus. “Access to this intellectual
property allows us to apply our expertise in the biology of microRNAs
and nucleic acid chemistry to translate academic discoveries into novel
microRNA-based therapeutics for inflammatory diseases.”
The licensed technology relates to the discovery that miR-155 is induced
during the macrophage inflammatory response and the characterization of
miR-155 as a common target of a broad range of inflammatory mediators
[O’Connell et al. (2007) PNAS 104: 1604-1609; O’Connell et
al. (2007) JEM 205:585-594]. As miR-155 is known to function
as an oncogene, these observations suggest a link between inflammation
Also included in the licensed technology is the discovery that miR-146
is induced, in an NF-kB-dependent manner, in response to proinflammatory
mediators [Taganov et al. (2006) PNAS 103:12481-12486].
These findings suggest that modulation of miR-146 may be of therapeutic
benefit in treating diseases characterized by excessive activation of
innate immunity signaling.