CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALNY), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, today announced the signing of a global settlement agreement among Alnylam, Max Planck Society (“Max Planck”), the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research (“Whitehead”) and the University of Massachusetts (“UMass”) resolving their ongoing litigation regarding the Tuschl patents. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”), formerly a party to the litigation, has also agreed to the terms of the settlement.
“Today’s settlement provides for a favorable resolution of this dispute for all parties and significantly optimizes the successful prosecution of both the Tuschl I and Tuschl II patent families, which together represent critical innovations for the advancement of RNAi therapeutics as breakthrough medicines,” said John Maraganore, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam. “As for Alnylam, this settlement enables continued focus on our business transformation with advancement of innovative RNAi therapeutic products to patients.”
The litigation was initiated in June 2009 and scheduled for trial in March 2011 in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts in Boston, Massachusetts. As part of the settlement agreement, Max Planck, Whitehead, UMass, and MIT have agreed that future prosecution of the Tuschl I and Tuschl II patent families in the United States should be coordinated and led by a single party. Max Planck will assume that role, in addition to their ongoing leadership in the continued prosecution of the Tuschl II patent family outside the United States. UMass will lead future prosecution of the Tuschl I patent family outside the United States. Further, Alnylam has granted UMass the right to sublicense the U.S. Tuschl II patent family to Merck, subject to certain Alnylam third-party obligations and other limitations, in exchange for a share of certain future sublicense income.
"We are very pleased that the settlement provides for coordinated prosecution of the Tuschl I and Tuschl II patent families in the United States that will encourage further development of RNAi therapeutics," said Whitehead Institute Director David C. Page, M.D.
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. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), the molecules that mediate RNAi and comprise Alnylam’s RNAi therapeutic platform, target the cause of diseases by potently silencing specific 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 leading the translation of RNAi as a new class of innovative medicines with a core focus on RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of genetically defined diseases, including ALN-TTR for the treatment of transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR), ALN-PCS for the treatment of severe hypercholesterolemia, and ALN-HPN for the treatment of refractory anemia. As part of its “Alnylam 5x15TM” strategy, the company expects to have five RNAi therapeutic products for genetically defined diseases in advanced stages of clinical development by the end of 2015. Alnylam has additional partner-based programs in clinical or development stages, including ALN-RSV01 for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, ALN-VSP for the treatment of liver cancers, and ALN-HTT for the treatment of Huntington’s disease. The company’s leadership position on RNAi therapeutics and intellectual property have enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Merck, Medtronic, Novartis, Biogen Idec, Roche, Takeda, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and Cubist. In addition, Alnylam and Isis co-founded Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a company focused on discovery, development, and commercialization of microRNA therapeutics; Regulus has formed partnerships with GlaxoSmithKline and sanofi-aventis. Alnylam has also formed Alnylam Biotherapeutics, a division of the company focused on the development of RNAi technologies for application in biologics manufacturing, including recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies. Alnylam scientists and collaborators have published their research on RNAi therapeutics in over 100 peer-reviewed papers, including many in the world’s top scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, and Cell. Founded in 2002, Alnylam maintains headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.alnylam.com.
Alnylam Forward-Looking Statements
Various statements in this release concerning Alnylam’s future expectations, plans and prospects, including without limitation, statements regarding Alnylam’s expectations with respect to its “Alnylam 5x15” product strategy, Alnylam’s views with respect to the outcome of this settlement, the likelihood of issuance of patents in the United States or elsewhere, and the strength, enforceability and validity of any patents that do issue 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 obtaining, maintaining and protecting intellectual property and Alnylam’s ability to enforce its patents against infringers and to defend its patent portfolio against challenges from third parties as well as those risks more fully discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of its most recent quarterly report on Form 10-K 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.