LA JOLLA, Calif., Aug. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company leading the discovery and development of innovative medicines targeting microRNAs, announced today that it has entered into a collaboration with Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) to identify microRNAs as biomarkers for multiple sclerosis (MS). Under the transaction, Biogen Idec will make an investment in Regulus in addition to upfront and milestone payments. The key objective of the collaboration is to identify microRNA biomarkers in the blood of patients with MS. Regulus believes that microRNA biomarkers may be used to select optimal patient segments in clinical trials, to develop companion diagnostics, and to monitor disease progression or relapse. "Utilizing innovative technology such as biomarkers can help us make more informed decisions earlier in clinical development and is key to our overall company strategy to enhance early-stage discovery efforts," said Steven Holtzman, Executive Vice President, Corporate Development of Biogen Idec. "We're excited to collaborate with Regulus to seek to identify biomarkers in MS patients, and are hopeful it can speed the work we're doing to bring new, effective treatments to market for patients with MS." "Regulus is delighted to form a collaboration with Biogen Idec, a biotechnology pioneer with more than thirty years of innovative contributions to the industry," said Garry E. Menzel, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President of Finance of Regulus Therapeutics Inc. "This collaboration allows us to further explore our proprietary microRNA biomarker platform with Biogen Idec's additional resources and expertise. We believe that identification of microRNAs as biomarkers for multiple sclerosis may advance the treatment of this devastating disease." About microRNAs and microRNAs as Biomarkers The discovery of microRNAs in humans during the last decade is one of the most exciting scientific breakthroughs in recent history. microRNAs are small RNA molecules, typically 20 to 25 nucleotides in length, that do not encode proteins but instead regulate gene expression. More than 500 microRNAs have been identified in the human genome, and over one-third of all human genes are believed to be regulated by microRNAs. microRNA expression, or function, has been shown to be significantly altered or dysregulated in many disease states, including oncology, fibrosis and metabolic diseases. Regulus believes that microRNAs are clinically relevant therapeutic targets and may be ideally suited as biomarkers for these disease states and others, like MS. microRNAs have been detected in bodily fluids such as blood, and emerging data has demonstrated that microRNA signatures in blood can mimic the expression profile observed in disease tissues. Regulus has a comprehensive intellectual property estate and oligonucleotide technology know-how and believes that microRNA biomarkers may be used to select optimal patient segments in clinical trials, to develop companion diagnostics, and to monitor disease progression or relapse.