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Regulus Job Listing Suggests Company May Be Weighing IPO

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By Doug Macron

Regulus Therapeutics, the microRNA drugs joint venture of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Isis Pharmaceuticals, may be weighing an initial public offering, a recent job posting by the company suggests.

According to a job-placement ad on its website, Regulus said it is looking to hire a financial-reporting manager whose duties will include preparing "internal management reporting and external SEC reporting documents."

Specifically, the manager will create Sarbanes-Oxley compliance procedures "to ensure that Regulus is fully compliant and ready to become a publicly traded organization," the job listing states.

In addition, the manager will handle the preparation of "quarterly and annual reports … and manage the internal and external review for these documents, post IPO," as well as "assist in the coordination of annual audit and quarterly review activities of external auditors, post IPO."

A spokesperson for Regulus told Gene Silencing News this week that the company is currently evaluating all its financing options, but did not elaborate.

Should Regulus go public, it would be the first time that a company in the RNAi/miRNA space has done so since miRNA diagnostics shop Rosetta Genomics floated its shares on the Nasdaq in 2007.

Rosetta first announced its IPO in 2006, planning to price its shares at between $11 and $13 (GSN 9/7/2006). By early 2007, the company lowered the proposed price of its stock to between $7.50 and $8.50, but it ultimately ended up selling them for $7 a piece for proceeds of about $30 million (GSN 3/1/2007).

Aside from Rosetta, only one other company — Alnylam — has been able to make the transition from a private to public pure-play RNAi/miRNA company.

In early 2004, Alnylam said it would go public with a stock offering that could be worth up to $86.3 million. A few months later, the company reconsidered and lowered the proposed float price of its shares to between $10 and $12 each, which would have made the IPO worth between $57.5 million and $69 million.

When it eventually did follow through with its public offering, Alnylam did so at a price of $6 a share (GSN 6/4/2004).

A number of other companies in the space — Marina Biotech, Benitec, Silence Therapeutics, and RXi Pharmaceuticals, for example — are traded publicly, but these all were already doing so before they started working in RNAi.

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