Alnylam, Regeneron collaborate on RNAi therapeutics for diseases

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Alnylam, Regeneron collaborate on RNAi therapeutics for diseases

By Sandra Levy - 04/10/2019
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a leading RNAi therapeutics company, and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals have announced a collaboration to discover, develop and commercialize new RNA interference, or RNAi therapeutics for a broad range of diseases.

By addressing these diseases and targets expressed in the eye and central nervous system, or CNS, a select number of targets expressed in the liver can also be exposed.

The collaboration will leverage both companies scientific and technological expertise and will build on Alnylam’s recent preclinical data showing potent and highly durable delivery of RNAi therapeutics to achieve target gene silencing in the eye and CNS, the companies said.

In addition, the joint effort will also benefit from Regeneron’s industry-leading VelociSuite technologies and capabilities from the Regeneron Genetics Center, or RGC, the companies added.

“At Regeneron, we believe the best use of our resources is to invest in potentially game-changing science that will yield innovative medicines for patients with serious diseases. This collaboration couples proven and emerging RNAi technology, which holds important promise in many diseases, with Regeneron’s world-leading genetics research and target discovery engine,” Regeneron president and chief scientific officer, George Yancopoulos said.

Alnylam will work exclusively with Regeneron to discover RNAi therapeutics for eye and CNS diseases. Regeneron will lead development and commercialization for all programs targeting eye diseases, with Alnylam entitled to potential milestone and royalty payments. The companies will jointly advance and alternate leadership on CNS programs, with the lead party retaining global development and commercial responsibility.

“This collaboration enables us to reach targets inside the cell complementing our expertise in antibodies, which are ideal for extracellular targets and those on the cell surface. Through the RGC and our other research groups, we are already identifying additional targets that may be well-suited for RNAi-based drug development, particularly in the eye and CNS,” Yancopoulos said.

For CNS programs, both companies will have the option at candidate selection to participate equally in potential future profits of programs led by the other party.

The collaboration also includes a select number of RNAi therapeutic programs designed to target genes expressed in the liver, which can influence a wide variety of diseases throughout the body. These programs include a planned joint effort evaluating anti-C5 antibody-siRNA combinations for C5 complement-mediated diseases including evaluating the combination of Regeneron’s pozelimab (REGN3918), currently in Phase 1 development, with Alnylam’s cemdisiran, currently in Phase 2 development.

“This new industry-leading alliance is aimed at realizing what we believe to be a significant opportunity for RNAi therapeutics as potentially transformative medicines for ocular and CNS diseases. We are thrilled to collaborate with Regeneron, a like-minded science-based organization, to significantly accelerate our efforts to bring RNAi therapeutics to patients,” Alnylam CEO, John Maraganore said.

Regeneron has agreed to make a $400 million upfront payment to Alnylam and to purchase $400 million of Alnylam equity at a price per share of $90.00 (4.44 million common shares), based on the volume-weighted average price over the last fifteen-trading-day period. Alnylam is eligible to receive up to an additional $200 million in milestone payments upon achievement of certain criteria during early clinical development for the eye and CNS programs.

“Importantly, the alliance structure enables Alnylam to continue to build its industry-leading pipeline of RNAi therapeutics while retaining significant product rights. In addition, the near-term payments under this new agreement will strengthen Alnylam’s balance sheet with over $2 billion in pro forma cash upon closing of the transaction, supporting our global efforts to develop and commercialize multiple products as potentially breakthrough medicines and advance our profile toward sustainable profitability,” Maraganore said.

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