The deal will see Regulus transfer scale-up technology to STA Pharmaceuticals – the small molecule contract manufacturing wing of China’s WuXi AppTec – for the development and manufacture of its pipeline oligonucleotide products.
Oligonucleotides are chemically synthesised short nucleic acid polymers designed to fuse with DNA or ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequences, and an area in which the contract manufacturing organisation (CMO) is keen to be involved in.
“We are continually investing in our staff and capabilities,” Yu Lu, executive director of Corporate Development and Communications at STA told this publication. “The R&D labs are located in both San Diego and in Changzhou, China has already started operation, and facilities for GMP manufacturing will open at Changzhou later this year.”
Financial details of the partnership have not been divulged.
Lu said STA is one of only a handful of CMOs which have invested in the oligonucleotide space.
“It is a relatively new area for the outsourcing sector that requires specialist facilities and staff knowledge. It’s a key part of STA’s strategy to continue to invest in new capabilities and facilities to meet any new demands from our customers.”
Furthermore, Lu added STA is seeing an increased number of customers inquire about oligonucleotide capability over the past year, which helped drive the decision to invest in this area.
“The demand is increasing as the pipeline for these drugs has grown and a number of candidates are now in later phase development. They also represent a major new class of drugs for patients.”