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|Alnylam Announces Close of Investment and Expanded Agreement Related to the Tekmira-Protiva Business Combination|
As part of the agreement, Alnylam has made an equity investment of $5.0 million in Tekmira at a price of $2.40 per share. This investment is representative of Alnylam's continued commitment to pursuing novel delivery strategies for RNAi therapeutics. Alnylam maintains its exclusive license to Tekmira's rights to the Semple (U.S. Patent No. 6,858,225) and Wheeler (U.S. Patent Nos. 5,976,567 and 6,815,432) patents, which the company believes are required for cationic liposomal delivery. Alnylam also now has obtained expanded rights to IP controlled by Protiva prior to the combination and to new IP generated by the combined entity, the new Tekmira. Alnylam has certain rights to sub-license this Tekmira IP to its strategic partners.
"Our expanded relationship with the new Tekmira significantly solidifies and broadens our access to key technologies and IP related to systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics," said Barry Greene, President and Chief Operating Officer of Alnylam. "We have long valued the technology and IP of both Tekmira and Protiva and believe that access to this technology as part of their new merged effort is important as we advance systemic RNAi therapeutics toward the clinic."
Alnylam has also granted to Tekmira InterfeRx(TM) licenses to discover, develop, and commercialize RNAi therapeutics towards seven gene targets. In return for these licenses, Alnylam may be eligible to receive milestone fees and royalties. Alnylam also has the option to co-develop and co-commercialize Tekmira's PLK SNALP program being developed for the treatment of certain cancers. PLK1, the polo-like kinase 1 gene, is one of the seven gene targets for which Tekmira has received an InterfeRx license. It has been shown to be involved in the growth of certain types of solid tumors, and PLK SNALP has been shown in pre-clinical studies to selectively kill cancer cells, while sparing normal healthy cells in the same tissue. Alnylam has the right to exercise its option for this program up until the commencement of Phase II clinical trials.
About RNA Interference (RNAi)
RNAi (RNA interference) is a revolution in biology, representing a breakthrough in understanding how genes are turned on and off in cells, and a completely new approach to drug discovery and development. Its discovery has been heralded as "a major scientific breakthrough that happens once every decade or so," and represents one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug discovery today which was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi is a natural process of gene silencing that occurs in organisms ranging from plants to mammals. By harnessing the natural biological process of RNAi occurring in our cells, the creation of a major new class of medicines, known as RNAi therapeutics, is on the horizon. RNAi therapeutics target the cause of diseases by potently silencing specific messenger RNAs (mRNAs), thereby preventing disease-causing proteins from being made. RNAi therapeutics have the potential to treat disease and help patients in a fundamentally new way.
About Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. The company is applying its therapeutic expertise in RNAi to address significant medical needs, many of which cannot effectively be addressed with small molecules or antibodies, the current major classes of drugs. Alnylam is leading the translation of RNAi as a new class of innovative medicines with peer-reviewed research efforts published in the world's top scientific journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, and Cell. The company is leveraging these capabilities to build a broad pipeline of RNAi therapeutics; its most advanced program is in Phase II human clinical trials for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection. In addition, the company is developing RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of a wide range of disease areas, including hypercholesterolemia, liver cancers, and Huntington's disease. The company's leadership position in fundamental patents, technology, and know-how relating to RNAi has enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Medtronic, Novartis, Biogen Idec, Roche, and Takeda. To reflect its outlook for key scientific, clinical, and business initiatives, Alnylam has established "RNAi 2010" which includes the company's plan to significantly expand the scope of delivery solutions for RNAi therapeutics, have four or more programs in clinical development, and to form four or more new major business collaborations, all by the end of 2010. Alnylam is a joint owner of Regulus Therapeutics LLC, a joint venture focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of microRNA therapeutics. Founded in 2002, Alnylam maintains headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.alnylam.com.
Alnylam Forward-Looking Statements
Various statements in this release concerning Alnylam's future expectations, plans and prospects, including statements regarding Alnylam's expectations regarding the success of Tekmira technology and the importance of Tekmira intellectual property, constitute forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including risks related to: Alnylam's approach to discover and develop novel drugs, which is unproven and may never lead to marketable products; obtaining, maintaining and protecting intellectual property; Alnylam's ability to enforce its patents against infringers and to defend its patent portfolio against challenges from third parties; Alnylam's ability to obtain additional funding to support its business activities; Alnylam's dependence on third parties for development, manufacture, marketing, sales and distribution of products; obtaining regulatory approval for products; competition from others using technology similar to Alnylam's and others developing products for similar uses; Alnylam's dependence on collaborators; and Alnylam's short operating history; as well as those risks more fully discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of its most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent Alnylam's views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Alnylam does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
SOURCE: Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.