VANCOUVER, B.C. & CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AlCana Technologies, Inc., The University of British Columbia, and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALNY), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today that Alnylam has elected to extend the companies’ RNAi therapeutics research collaboration for a third year. The research collaboration was initiated in August 2009 and focused on the discovery of novel cationic lipids employed in lipid nanoparticles (“LNPs”) for the systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics.
“We are excited to continue our relationship with AlCana and UBC in this research collaboration, as they remain at the forefront of cationic lipid and LNP discovery with a world-class team of chemists focused on the delivery of RNAi therapeutics,” said Kenneth Koblan, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer at Alnylam. “In fact, the research conducted by AlCana and UBC has led to the discovery of our second generation LNPs that demonstrate remarkable improvements in potency, a wider therapeutic index, and potential for delivery beyond the liver.”
“We are pleased that Alnylam has elected to extend our research collaboration for another year and we look forward to continuing our work with them in these efforts,” said Thomas Madden, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of AlCana Technologies. “Over the past two years, we have made significant advancements in the systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics and the progress in our relationship is exemplified by the large number of papers and presentations by our scientific teams.”
The research collaboration is funded by Alnylam and the work will be conducted by scientists at UBC and AlCana. Under the terms of the research agreement, Alnylam retains exclusive rights to all new inventions in the RNAi field as well as rights to sublicense any resulting intellectual property to Alnylam’s current and future partners. As part of the original 2009 agreement, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nasdaq: TKMR, TSX: TKM) receives rights to use any new AlCana/UBC inventions for their own RNAi therapeutic programs licensed under Alnylam intellectual property through its InterfeRx™ program.
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 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, without limitation, Alnylam’s ability to discover and develop novel drug candidates, successfully demonstrate the efficacy and safety of its drug candidates in human clinical trials and establish and maintain strategic business alliances and new business initiatives, as well as those risks more fully discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of its most recent annual 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.