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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and GeneCare Research Institute and Galapagos and GlaxoSmithKline

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Alnylam Licenses RNAi IP to Japanese Biotech, Receives Milestone from Merck

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has granted GeneCare Research Institute, a Japanese biotechnology firm, an exclusive license to its intellectual property to discover, develop, and commercialize RNAi therapeutics against two DNA helicase genes associated with cancer.

The licensing deal comes under Alnylam’s InterfeRx program, which the company began in late 2003 as part of its desire to make its RNAi IP accessible to other drugmakers (see RNAi News, 12/19/2003).

Under the terms of the arrangement, Alnylam will receive an upfront fee, in addition to annual payments and milestones, all in cash. Further, Alnylam will receive royalties on products resulting from the deal. Alnylam also retains the right to negotiate US co-development and co-promotion arrangements for future products.

Additional details were not disclosed.

Also this week, Alnylam said that it has received a $7 million milestone payment from partner Merck in connection with the companies September 2003 collaboration to develop RNAi therapeutics and technologies.

According to Alnylam, the milestone was triggered by the company’s development of an in vivo RNAi technology to a pre-specified level of performance. Additional details about the technology were not disclosed.

The milestone payment was composed of a $5 million equity investment by Merck in Alnylam at a price of $7.04 per share and $2 million in cash.

As a result of the achievement of the milestone, Alnylam said that it is updating its cash and investment guidance for the end of 2004 to more than $45 million, up from more than $35 million.


Galapagos Inks Target-Licensing, -Identification Deal with Glaxo

Galapagos said this week that it has entered into target-licensing and multi-year target-identification collaborations in the areas of respiratory and inflammatory diseases with GlaxoSmithKline.

Under the deal, Glaxo is to receive an exclusive license to novel disease-modifying drug targets that have been discovered by Galapagos in its asthma and allergy program using its siRNA-based adenovirus discovery technology.

Additionally, the companies have entered a three-year deal under which Galapago’s unit Galadeno will use its assay development and screening expertise in combination with its SilenceSelect gene knock-down platform to discover and validate novel drug targets in multiple disease pathways for Glaxo.

In exchange, Galapagos is to receive an upfront fee, research funding, and milestone payments on targets taken into development by Glaxo.

 

The Scan

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Genetically predicted high blood pressure risk is also associated with increased cardiovascular disease risk, a new JAMA Cardiology study says.

Circulating Tumor DNA Linked to Post-Treatment Relapse in Breast Cancer

Post-treatment detection of circulating tumor DNA may identify breast cancer patients who are more likely to relapse, a new JCO Precision Oncology study finds.

Genetics Influence Level of Depression Tied to Trauma Exposure, Study Finds

Researchers examine the interplay of trauma, genetics, and major depressive disorder in JAMA Psychiatry.

UCLA Team Reports Cost-Effective Liquid Biopsy Approach for Cancer Detection

The researchers report in Nature Communications that their liquid biopsy approach has high specificity in detecting all- and early-stage cancers.