Regulus Therapeutics more than doubles on early data for microRNA treatment for hepatitis C

Associated Press

Shares of Regulus Therapeutics more than doubled Wednesday as early testing of a hepatitis C drug appeared promising.

Wedbush Securities analyst Liana said that the drug could have a major impact on hepatitis C treatment and on the future of the company.

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Regulus is testing several doses of the drug, and Liana said that the data the company reported Wednesday only covers the smallest dose.

The company said Wednesday that patients who received a single injection of its drug RG-101 still had lower viral loads four weeks later. The drug worked in patients with different viral genotypes and varying treatment histories, the company said.

The study involved 16 patients in total, with 14 getting the RG-101 injection and two getting a placebo treatment.

The results were "much better than expected," as six patients had undetectable virus levels 29 days after their injection, Liana said.

Regulus wants to start a mid-stage clinical trial in the second quarter of 2015.

Shares of Regulus Therapeutics Inc. climbed $7.83 to $14.60 in afternoon trading. Earlier in the session the share reached an all-time high of $15.38.

The La Jolla, California, company is studying drug candidates using microRNA, or small RNA molecules that can treat diseases by turning parts of genes on or off.

"RG-101 could not only be disruptive, but become the core treatment for hepatitis C to which direct anti-virals can be added," Liana wrote. "With these results, we anticipate Regulus is likely to receive widespread interest from potential partners for development and commercialization."