Regulus Therapeutics today announced that it has successfully delivered microRNA inhibitors into mice and identified changes in target gene expression in their immune cells, reaching the first discovery milestone in its collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline.
"This milestone is further evidence that microRNAs represent disease targets whose therapeutic modulation could revolutionize the way we treat immune diseases," Regulus CSO Peter Linsley said in a statement. "We are particularly pleased that this has been achieved in the first year of the collaboration."
The development is the fruit of a deal the companies signed about a year ago to discover, develop, and market microRNA-based therapeutics for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease (see RNAi News, 4/17/2008).
Under the arrangement, Regulus will develop antagonists to four miRNA targets related to inflammatory disease from discovery through completion of clinical proof of concept. GlaxoSmithKline has an exclusive option to license product candidates directed at the four targets.
In exchange, Regulus will receive $20 million upfront from GlaxoSmithKline, which includes a $15 million option fee and a $5 million note that will convert into Regulus stock in the future under certain undisclosed circumstances.
Regulus could also receive up to $144.5 million in development, regulatory, and sales milestones, as well as tiered royalties up to double-digit percentages on the sale of products resulting from the alliance.