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Strands: Mar 5, 2009


Regulus Raises $20M from Alnylam, Isis

Regulus Therapeutics said this week that it has received $20 million in Series A preferred equity funding from its two parent companies, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Isis Pharmaceuticals.

Alnylam and Isis formed Regulus in 2007 to use their respective RNAi and antisense technologies and intellectual property to develop miRNA drugs (see RNAi News, 9/13/2007). Both companies contributed equally to the latest round of financing.

"This equity financing, when combined with last year's significant upfront payment made by GlaxoSmithKline as part of our partnership, gives Regulus cash that we expect will last at least through 2011," Regulus President and CEO Kleanthis Xanthopoulos said in a statement.

About a year ago, Regulus and GlaxoSmithKline formed a worldwide strategic alliance to discover, develop, and market microRNA-based therapeutics for inflammatory diseases (see RNAi News, 4/17/2008).

Targeted Genetics Renegotiates Celladon Deal, Extends Cash Horizon

Targeted Genetics said this week that it has renegotiated a manufacturing relationship with Celladon, a developer of molecular therapies for heart failure, in order to improve its cash horizon.

Targeted Genetics said it now will have cash and short-term investments sufficient to fund its operations through the first half of this year.

In 2005, Targeted Genetics and Celladon formed a collaboration to develop adeno-associated viral vector-based gene therapies for congestive heart failure. Under the amended terms of the partnerships, Targeted Genetics has granted Celladon exclusive use of certain AAV technology in an expanded field, including heart failure, where changes in calcium cycling have contributed to or caused disease conditions.

This deal enables Celladon to manufacture an investigational enzyme replacement therapy itself or through contract manufacturing organizations, rather than rely on Targeted Genetics for manufacturing.

In exchange, Celladon has agreed to increase its payments to Targeted Genetics for the first six months of 2009 to support its manufacture of the drug for phase III studies. The companies have also agreed to a new milestone and royalty structure on the development of products using the AAV technology.

Two New Groups Join Thermo Fisher's RNAi Global Initiative

Thermo Fisher Scientific said last week that the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and the University of Leiden in Amsterdam have joined the RNAi Global initiative.

The Global Initiative was formed in 2005 by Dharmacon, which operated as a unit of Thermo Fisher Scientific at the time, as part of an effort to help establish standards for conducting RNAi screening experiments while familiarizing member organizations with the company's RNAi products (see RNAi News, 10/7/2005).

"The growth in membership from 10 founding member institutes in 2005 to 37 at the outset of 2009 is indicative of the value of this initiative," Michael Deines, global director of marketing for genomics at Thermo Fisher Scientific, said in a statement.

The Scan

Two J&J Doses

Johnson & Johnson says two doses of its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine provides increased protection against symptomatic COVID-19, CNN reports.

Pfizer-BioNTech Vaccine Response in Kids

The Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in a lower-dose format appears to generate an immune response among children, according to the Washington Post.

Chicken Changes to Prevent Disease

The Guardian writes that researchers are looking at gene editing chickens to help prevent future pandemics.

PNAS Papers on Siberian Dog Ancestry, Insect Reproduction, Hippocampal Neurogenesis

In PNAS this week: ancestry and admixture among Siberian dogs, hormone role in fruit fly reproduction, and more.