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Alnylam, Isis Strike Deal for Single-Stranded RNAi Technology

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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Isis Pharmaceuticals announced this week that that have formed a collaboration to develop Isis' single-stranded RNAi technology.

The companies also said that they have extended a broad intellectual property-licensing arrangement signed in 2004 (see RNAi News, 3/12/2004).

Under the terms of the latest deal, Isis has co-exclusively licensed to Alnylam the rights to its so-called ssRNAi technology in exchange for upfront payments, research and development milestones, and royalties. Isis retains the right to develop drugs based on the technology itself.

Specifically, Isis could potentially receive $31 million in licensing fees payable in four installments, including $11 million upon consummation of the deal; $10 million in 18 months or when in vivo efficacy in rodent is demonstrated, whichever comes first; $5 million upon achievement of in vivo efficacy in non-human primates; and $5 million upon initiation of the first clinical trial of a drug based on the technology.

Alnylam will fund ssRNAi research activities conducted by both companies at a minimum of $3 million a year for three years, the companies said. If Alnylam develops an ssRNAi drug alone or with another partner, Isis will receive milestones and royalties.

Isis is also eligible to receive up to 50 percent of any sublicense payments paid to Alnylam by a third party, although these payments will decline over time as Alnylam's investment in the technology increases, they added. In turn, Alnylam could receive up to 5 percent of any sublicense payments due to Isis by third parties.

Each company stands to receive royalties based on the sale of ssRNAi products by the other.

Additional terms were not disclosed.

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