CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & PARIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALNY), the leading RNAi therapeutics company, and Sanofi Genzyme, the specialty care global business unit of Sanofi, announced today that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has lifted the hold on clinical studies with fitusiran, including the Phase 2 open-label extension (OLE) study and the ATLAS Phase 3 program.
Alnylam and the FDA had previously reached alignment on new clinical risk mitigation measures, including protocol-specified guidelines and additional investigator and patient education concerning reduced doses of replacement factor or bypassing agent to treat any breakthrough bleeds in fitusiran studies. The FDA has now approved the protocol amendments and other updated clinical materials for fitusiran studies. Fitusiran is an investigational RNAi therapeutic targeting antithrombin (AT) for the treatment of patients with hemophilia A and B. It is designed to lower levels of AT with the goal of promoting sufficient thrombin generation to restore hemostasis and prevent bleeding.
“We are pleased with the FDA’s decision to lift the clinical hold, as fitusiran holds the potential to help improve the lives of people living with hemophilia,” said Akin Akinc, Ph.D., Vice President and General Manager, Fitusiran at Alnylam. “With the additional risk mitigation measures in place, we look forward to the continued late-stage development of fitusiran and expect to resume dosing around year-end.”
Fitusiran is an investigational, once-monthly, subcutaneously administered RNAi therapeutic targeting antithrombin (AT) in development for the treatment of hemophilia A and B, with and without inhibitors. Fitusiran also has the potential to be used for rare bleeding disorders. Fitusiran is designed to lower levels of AT with the goal of promoting sufficient thrombin generation to restore hemostasis and prevent bleeding. Fitusiran utilizes Alnylam's ESC-GalNAc conjugate technology, which enables subcutaneous dosing with increased potency and durability. The clinical significance of this technology is under investigation. Fitusiran has not been approved by the FDA, EMA or any other regulatory authority for any indication and no conclusions can or should be drawn regarding the safety or effectiveness of this investigational therapeutic.
Hemophilia is a hereditary bleeding disorder characterized by an underlying defect in the ability to generate adequate levels of thrombin needed for effective clotting, thereby resulting in recurrent bleeds into joints, muscles, and major internal organs. There are approximately 400,000 people living with hemophilia A and hemophilia B worldwide. Standard treatment for people with hemophilia currently involves replacement of the deficient clotting factor either as prophylaxis or "on-demand" therapy, which can lead to a temporary restoration of thrombin generation capacity. However, with current factor replacement treatments people with hemophilia are at risk of developing neutralizing antibodies or ‘inhibitors' to their replacement factor, a very serious complication affecting as many as one third of people with hemophilia A and a smaller fraction of people with hemophilia B. People who develop inhibitors become refractory to replacement factor therapy and are twice as likely to be hospitalized for a bleeding episode.
Alnylam - Sanofi Genzyme Alliance
In January 2014, Alnylam and Sanofi Genzyme formed an alliance to accelerate the advancement of RNAi therapeutics as a potential new class of innovative medicines for patients around the world with rare genetic diseases. The alliance enables Sanofi Genzyme to expand its rare disease pipeline with Alnylam's novel RNAi technology and provides access to Alnylam's R&D engine, while Alnylam benefits from Sanofi Genzyme's proven global capabilities to advance late-stage development and, upon commercialization, accelerate market access for these promising genetic medicine products. In November 2016, Sanofi Genzyme elected to co-develop (through Sanofi R&D) and co-commercialize fitusiran in the United States, Canada and Western Europe, in addition to commercializing fitusiran in its rest of world territories.
RNAi (RNA interference) is a natural cellular process of gene silencing that represents one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug development today. Its discovery has been heralded as “a major scientific breakthrough that happens once every decade or so,” and was recognized with the award of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. By harnessing the natural biological process of RNAi occurring in our cells, a major new class of medicines, known as RNAi therapeutics, is on the horizon. Small interfering RNA (siRNA), the molecules that mediate RNAi and comprise Alnylam's RNAi therapeutic platform, function upstream of today’s medicines by potently silencing messenger RNA (mRNA) – the genetic precursors – that encode for disease-causing proteins, thus preventing them from being made. This is a revolutionary approach with the potential to transform the care of patients with genetic and other diseases.
About Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Alnylam (Nasdaq: ALNY) is leading the translation of RNA interference (RNAi) into a whole new class of innovative medicines with the potential to transform the lives of people afflicted with rare genetic, cardio-metabolic, and hepatic infectious diseases. Based on Nobel Prize-winning science, RNAi therapeutics represent a powerful, clinically validated approach for the treatment of a wide range of severe and debilitating diseases. Founded in 2002, Alnylam is delivering on a bold vision to turn scientific possibility into reality, with a robust discovery platform and deep pipeline of investigational medicines, including four product candidates that are in late-stage development. Looking forward, Alnylam will continue to execute on its "Alnylam 2020" strategy of building a multi-product, commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company with a sustainable pipeline of RNAi-based medicines to address the needs of patients who have limited or inadequate treatment options. Alnylam employs over 600 people in the U.S. and Europe and is headquartered in Cambridge, MA. For more information about our people, science and pipeline, please visit www.alnylam.com and engage with us on Twitter at @Alnylam or on LinkedIn.
Sanofi is dedicated to supporting people through their health challenges. We are a global biopharmaceutical company focused on human health. We prevent illness with vaccines, provide innovative treatments to fight pain and ease suffering. We stand by the few who suffer from rare diseases and the millions with long-term chronic conditions.
With more than 100,000 people in 100 countries, Sanofi is transforming scientific innovation into healthcare solutions around the globe.
Sanofi Genzyme focuses on developing specialty treatments for debilitating diseases that are often difficult to diagnose and treat, providing hope to patients and their families. Learn more at www.sanofigenzyme.com.
Sanofi, Empowering Life.
Alnylam Forward Looking Statements
Various statements in this release concerning Alnylam's future expectations, plans and prospects, including without limitation, Alnylam's views with respect to the potential for fitusiran for the treatment of people with hemophilia, expectations regarding the timing for resumption of dosing in the fitusiran Phase 2 OLE study and Phase 3 ATLAS program, and expectations regarding its "Alnylam 2020" guidance for the advancement and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics, constitute forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results and future plans may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important risks, uncertainties and other factors, including, without limitation, Alnylam's ability to discover and develop novel drug candidates and delivery approaches, successfully demonstrate the efficacy and safety of its product candidates, the pre-clinical and clinical results for its product candidates, which may not be replicated or continue to occur in other subjects or in additional studies or otherwise support further development of product candidates for a specified indication or at all, actions or advice of regulatory agencies, which may affect the design, initiation, timing, continuation and/or progress of clinical trials or result in the need for additional pre-clinical and/or clinical testing, delays, interruptions or failures in the manufacture and supply of its product candidates, obtaining, maintaining and protecting intellectual property, Alnylam's ability to enforce its intellectual property rights against third parties and defend its patent portfolio against challenges from third parties, obtaining and maintaining regulatory approval, pricing and reimbursement for products, progress in establishing a commercial and ex-United States infrastructure, competition from others using technology similar to Alnylam's and others developing products for similar uses, Alnylam's ability to manage its growth and operating expenses, obtain additional funding to support its business activities, and establish and maintain strategic business alliances and new business initiatives, Alnylam's dependence on third parties for development, manufacture and distribution of products, the outcome of litigation, the risk of government investigations, and unexpected expenditures, as well as those risks more fully discussed in the "Risk Factors" filed with Alnylam's most recent Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) and in other filings that Alnylam makes with the SEC. 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 explicitly disclaims any obligation, except to the extent required by law, to update any forward-looking statements.
Sanofi Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, as amended. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts. These statements include projections and estimates and their underlying assumptions, statements regarding plans, objectives, intentions and expectations with respect to future financial results, events, operations, services, product development and potential, and statements regarding future performance. Forward-looking statements are generally identified by the words "expects", "anticipates", "believes", "intends", "estimates", "plans" and similar expressions. Although Sanofi's management believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are reasonable, investors are cautioned that forward-looking information and statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and generally beyond the control of Sanofi, that could cause actual results and developments to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by, the forward-looking information and statements. These risks and uncertainties include among other things, the uncertainties inherent in research and development, future clinical data and analysis, including post marketing, decisions by regulatory authorities, such as the FDA or the EMA, regarding whether and when to approve any drug, device or biological application that may be filed for any such product candidates as well as their decisions regarding labelling and other matters that could affect the availability or commercial potential of such product candidates, the absence of guarantee that the product candidates if approved will be commercially successful, the future approval and commercial success of therapeutic alternatives, Sanofi's ability to benefit from external growth opportunities and/or obtain regulatory clearances, risks associated with intellectual property and any related pending or future litigation and the ultimate outcome of such litigation, trends in exchange rates and prevailing interest rates, volatile economic conditions, the impact of cost containment initiatives and subsequent changes thereto, the average number of shares outstanding as well as those discussed or identified in the public filings with the SEC and the AMF made by Sanofi, including those listed under "Risk Factors" and "Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" in Sanofi's annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2016. Other than as required by applicable law, Sanofi does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking information or statements.