VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. & SAN DIEGO--
Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical companyfocused on being a leader in discovering and developing new medicines thattarget microRNAs, announced the formation of a new collaboration withresearchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School ofMedicine. The collaboration will focus on finding novel treatments forangiogenic diseases through the use of microRNA therapeutics and will combineRegulus' microRNA platform and UCSD's expertise in animal models ofangiogenesis, and resulting anti-angiogenic microRNA-targeted therapies couldeasily be translated for treating human diseases.
Angiogenesis is the formation of new blood vessels and is aleading contributor to the severity of diseases such as diabetes, cancer,inflammatory disease, macular degeneration and arthritis. In cancerparticularly, angiogenesis is what allows tumors to gain new sources of theblood, oxygen and nutrients required for growth. microRNAs have been shown tohave potential in regulating various biological networks that are involved inangiogenesis.
"We are pleased to collaborate with leading scientificinstitutes like UCSD and to provide industry support for programs such as the UCDiscovery Grant," says Dr. Hubert C. Chen, vice president of translationalmedicine at Regulus. "Regulus continues to demonstrate a leadership position inthe field of microRNA therapeutics and is committed to forging partnershipswith leading academic and clinical laboratories to advance microRNA biology andtherapeutic discovery."
Both institutions have a solid repertoire of experience when itcomes to microRNA. Researchers at UC have studied microRNA-132, and Regulusboasts a network of close to "30 academic collaborations," which Chen says"assists us with the investigation of new microRNAs and supports microRNAdiscovery efforts."
"Our research published last year in Nature Medicine demonstrated that microRNA-132 functions as a novelangiogenic switch that turns on angiogenesis in quiescent endothelial cells,and that targeting with an anti-miR-132 decreases blood vessel formation," saysDr. David A. Cheresh, a professor of pathology in the UCSD School of Medicine,associate director for translational research at UCSD Moores Cancer Center andprincipal investigator on the grant. "The objective of our collaborative workwith Regulus is to advance these initial discoveries and discover additionalmicroRNAs involved in angiogenic diseases."
The collaboration program recently received a UC DiscoveryGrant, which promotes collaborations between researchers at the university andindustry partners "in the interest of supporting cutting-edge research,strengthening the state's economy, and serving the public good," as stated onUC's website. UC Discovery Grant projects are funded jointly, by the grant andan industry sponsor's matching contribution. Financial terms for the project'sgrant were not disclosed.