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September 09, 2007

Alnylam & Isis = Regulus

Link: WSJ Health Blog : Old RNA in New Bottles?

This is about the announcement that Alnylam Pharm. and Isis Pharm., both big players in the very hot field of RNA interference (RNAi), are launching their joint venture called Regulus.

RNAi is a natural process of gene silencing. The cell uses microRNA (miRNA) to stop the production of protein encoded by a particular gene. In the case of cancer, oncogenes can overcome this inhibition, producing a glut of disease-causing proteins.

The level of naturally occurring miRNA can be raised to help control cancer, or synthetic short interferring RNA (siRNA) can be created for the same purpose.

They've brought in the CalTech Nobel laureate David Baltimore to sit on the board and chair an advisory group.

These companies have a history of collaborating on miRNA technology. Since 2004, they've jointly licensed IP relating to the therapeutic uses of miRNA from the Max Plank society.

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