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Alnylam Errs on Nasdaq Index Listing; Rival Sirna Joins Index Simultaneously

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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals jumped the gun last week when it said it has been added to the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index. In fact, the company joined the index one week after it said it had, and therefore was not the first RNAi company to claim inclusion on the listing.

Alnylam, in fact, joined the NBI on Monday, Nov. 21 — the same day as its close rival Sirna Therapeutics was added to the index.

As reported by RNAi News last week, Alnylam issued a statement indicating that it had been added to the index a week before Sirna (see RNAi News, 11/18/2005). Specifically, Alnylam said that "it will be added to the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index effective with the US market open on Monday, November 14, 2005."

But, according to a Nasdaq spokesman, Alnylam's listing on the NBI did not become effective until Monday this week. As for whether Alnylam would amend its incorrect announcement, the spokesman told RNAi News this week that this decision would be "up to the company. It's their press release."

The spokesman said that Alnylam "might want to have [its press release] distribution service issue a correction," but indicated that the Nasdaq would not take steps to see that this was done.

Whether Alnylam's premature announcement would be an issue for the US Securities and Exchange Commission is unclear. An SEC representative told RNAi News this week that the agency does not comment on "what we're looking at or not looking at."

An Alnylam spokeswoman told RNAi News that the company has corrected the NBI-listing date on version of the press release on its corporate website, but does not plan to issue the corrected release.

To be listed on the NBI, a company must, among other things, have a market capitalization of at least $200 million; must have shares with an average daily trading volume of at least 100,000; and must be "seasoned" on the Nasdaq or another recognized market for at least six months.

Separately, Sirna announced it had been added to the index at the start of trading on Nov. 21.

"We are extremely pleased to be included among the leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies listed on the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index," Howard Robin, CEO of Sirna, said in a statement. "Our addition to this Index further supports the important achievements Sirna has made in the field of RNA interference."

— Doug Macron ([email protected])

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