AstraZeneca buys miRNA know how
Enlarge image


AstraZeneca buys miRNA know how

16.08.2012 - British-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca has inlicenced three miRNA targets from Regulus Therapeutics.

AstraZeneca said it will make an US$28m upfront payment and equity investment for the exclusive commercialisation rights for compounds directed against three miRNA targets identified by the US joint venture of Alnylam and Isis Pharmaceuticals. The deal includes Regulus’ lead programme that targets miRNA33 in atherosclerosis. Three other programmes will be focused on cardiovascular (miRNA24) and metabolic diseases as well as cancer. Under the terms of the agreement, Regulus will lead preclinical development, whereas AstraZeneca will be responsible for clinical development and commercialisation. In case of success, Regulus will receive preclinical and clinical milestones and royalties.

Atherosclerosis is the build-up of plaque that occurs when cholesterol and inflammatory cells accumulate in blood vessels. These plaques can rupture, leading to slowing or blockage of blood flow and ultimately resulting in a heart attack or stroke. Scientific research has shown a strong correlation between high cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease which, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is the leading cause of death in the United States.

Regulus’ lead program for atherosclerosis targets microRNA-33, which has a unique mechanism of action for the management of cholesterol levels. The inhibition of microRNA-33 with our anti-miRs promotes reverse cholesterol transport, or RCT, which is the efflux of cholesterol from specific cholesterol-laden inflammatory cells called macrophages in atherosclerotic plaques. Treatment with anti-microRNA-33 in an atherosclerotic mouse model led to reduction in arterial plaque size by 35% (Rayner et al., J Clin Invest. 2011) and treatment in non-human primates increased circulating levels of HDL-C by 50%. By enhancing RCT, anti-miR-33 differs from other emerging therapeutic strategies that focus only on raising HDL-C in circulation.


26.11.2015 Bioeconomy movers and shakers from every corner of the globe met this week at the world’s first Global Bioeconomy Summit in Berlin to discuss, debate and define better ways to ensure the bioeconomy succeeds on an international level.


24.11.2015 After weeks of speculation it is official: US pharma major Pfizer and Irish Botox maker Allergan will merge. With the deal, Pfizer is planning to dodge the high US taxes, causing indignation among US politicians.


23.11.2015 Amidst talk of the IPO window closing and cancelled flotations, diagnostics firms are still striking a chord with investors. Swedish Immunovia and German Curetis are successfully raising public money.


20.11.2015 French Sanofi and British AstraZeneca are giving open innovation a go: The two pharma giants will exchange thousands of compounds – for free.


19.11.2015 French gene editing company Cellectis has granted Servier the rights to bring cancer immunotherapy UCART19 to market. Servier in turn has teamed up with Pfizer to hurry development along.


17.11.2015 The first Italian accelerator specifically for biotech projects has been launched with help from Sofinnova Partners. The plan of BiovelocITA: to help Italy grow into one of Europe’s strongest biotech markets.


13.11.2015 Scientists in Bath, UK, have developed a medical dressing that turns fluorescent green when it detects infection. The researchers hope that the smart burns dressing will help fight antibiotic resistance.


13.11.2015 Out with the old: Roche is discarding four sites with 1,200 staff in an effort to restructure its manufacturing network for small molecules. Instead, a new manufacturing site will be built in Switzerland.


10.11.2015 Algae have many skills, but cancer fighting was not one of them – until now. Researchers from Australia and Germany have genetically engineered diatom algae to accurately deliver chemotherapeutic drugs.


10.11.2015 AstraZeneca has plucked Californian biopharma company ZS Pharma from under Actelion’s nose. The UK company is paying US$2.7bn (€2.5bn) to acquire ZS and its promising hyperkalaemia treatment currently under US regulatory review.


All Events


Strasbourg (F)

BioFIT 2015

Current issue

All issues

Product of the week


Stock list

All quotes


  • EPIGENOMICS (D)2.26 EUR20.86%
  • SAREUM HOLDINGS (UK)0.21 GBP10.53%


  • THERAMETRICS (CH)0.04 CHF-20.00%
  • CO.DON (D)2.35 EUR-7.84%
  • DIAMYD MEDICAL -B- (S)9.40 SEK-6.00%


  • PLETHORA (UK)5.50 GBP76.3%
  • CELLECTIS (F)30.25 EUR34.9%
  • PROTHENA PLC (IE)73.19 USD34.8%


  • EPIGENOMICS (D)2.26 EUR-48.5%
  • EVOCUTIS (UK)0.09 GBP-40.0%


  • KARO BIO (S)37.80 SEK5300.0%
  • CHRONTECH PHARMA (S)0.34 SEK1600.0%
  • GALAPAGOS (B)46.32 EUR258.0%


  • BIOTEST (D)15.77 EUR-80.4%
  • EVOCUTIS (UK)0.09 GBP-78.6%

No liability assumed, Date: 27.11.2015