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French pharmaceutical group Sanofi Aventis (SNY) and U.S.-basec company Regulus Inc. Tuesday said they entered into a global strategic alliance to discover, develop, and commercialize microRNA therapeutics. The alliance will initially focus on the therapeutic area of fibrosis.
- MicroRNAs (micro-RiboNucleic Acid) are a new class of small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression by interfering with translation or stability of target messenger RNA transcripts. Endogenous microRNAs regulate the expression of over one-third of all human genes. The association of microRNA dysfunction with disease phenotypes has given rise to an entirely new class of pharmaceutically relevant targets.
- Sanofi-Aventis and Regulus will collaborate on microRNA drug discovery and preclinical development for up to four microRNA targets, including the lead fibrosis program targeting microRNA-21. Sanofi-Aventis also received an option, which if exercised, provides access to the technology to develop and commercialize other micro-RNA based therapeutics, beyond the first four targets.
- Regulus will receive a $25 million upfront fee and a future $10 million equity investment subject to mutual agreement on company valuation. The alliance could be valued at over $750 million when taking into account upfront payments, equity investment, research funding, and potential near-term preclinical, clinical and commercial milestone payments for multiple products.
- Regulus was formed in 2007 and is jointly owned by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Isis Pharmaceuticals.
- By Paris Bureau, Dow Jones Newswires; +331-4017-1740; firstname.lastname@example.org