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Alnylam to Contribute IP to Tropical Disease Research Effort

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Alnylam today said that it has joined GlaxoSmithKline in contributing more than 1,500 issued or pending patents covering RNA interference technology to a patent pool for neglected tropical diseases.

The patent pool was established by London-based GlaxoSmithKline earlier this year to aid in the discovery and development of new medicines for treating 16 neglected tropical diseases, as defined by the US Food and Drug Administration, in the world's least developed countries.

The 16 diseases include tuberculosis, malaria, blinding trachoma, buruli ulcer, cholera, dengue/dengue haemorrhagic fever, racunculiasis, fascioliasis, human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, leprosy, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, schistosomiasis, soil transmitted helminthiasis, and yaws. The pool is focused on countries in western and central Africa and in Southeast Asia, which have been identified by the United Nations as least developed countries.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Alnylam will provide RNAi IP, technology, and know-how on a royalty-free, non-profit basis in the least developed countries via licensing agreements with qualified third parties, it said.

"The more companies, academic institutions, and foundations that join the pool, the more effective it will be," GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty said in a statement. "Alnylam's announcement today is therefore a welcome and significant step forward."

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