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Regulus Hits Milestone in Multiple Sclerosis microRNA Biomarker Partnership

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Regulus Therapeutics this week announced that it has received a milestone payment from Biogen Idec as part of the companies' ongoing partnership to identify microRNA biomarkers for multiple sclerosis.

In 2012, the companies signed a deal under which Regulus is using its proprietary miRNA extraction and analysis technologies to identify which of these small, non-coding RNAs could be used to develop a blood-based test to help diagnose MS patients, as well as to guide their treatment and monitor disease progression and relapse.

Regulus said that it has thus far profiled over 400 serum samples from MS patients and compared them against samples from healthy volunteers. Based on the progress made, Regulus has received an undisclosed milestone payment.

Under the terms of the companies deal, Regulus may receive $250,000 for identifying an miRNA biomarker; $500,000 for validation of the biomarker in a second independent sample set; and $500,000 upon "refinement of the microRNA biomarker signature from a longitudinal study of patients samples on MS therapy," according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Regulus said that the companies are now conducting additional validation work on miRNA biomarker signatures on patients with relapse-remitting MS.

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