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Alnylam Releases Data on Use of RNAi Technology in Biological Manufacturing

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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals last week announced the release of data showing that it is able to efficiently deliver siRNAs into Chinese hamster ovary cells grown in one liter suspension culture and to achieve potent silencing of CHO host gene targets involved in both cellular apoptotic and metabolic pathways.

The data were generated as part of the company's Alnylam Biotherapeutics initiative, which is focused on applying its RNAi technologies to improving biological manufacturing (RNAi News 11/19/2009).

The company said that it used siRNAs designed to silence genes involved in the "survival and optimal growth of CHO cells," namely the apoptotic regulators Bax and Bak; and lactate dehydrogenase, a key metabolic enzyme.

According to Alnylam, cells treated with the siRNAs showed a roughly 80 percent silencing of Bax, Bak, and LDH mRNA levels; a greater than 65 percent decrease in LDH enzyme activity; an approximately 90 percent decrease in caspase 3 activity, a downstream mediator of apoptotic cell death; and a greater than 90 percent increase of viable cell density.