Regulus Therapeutics wins exclusive rights to modulate microRNAs

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 and cancer.

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.


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