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Alnylam Terminates ssRNAi Collaboration with Isis

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By Doug Macron

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals this week disclosed that it has ended its collaboration with Isis Pharmaceuticals to develop single-stranded RNAi technologies.

In early 2009, the companies struck a deal under which Isis co-exclusively licensed to Alnylam the rights to its so-called ssRNAi technology in exchange for $11 million upfront, research and development milestones, and royalties. Isis retained the right to develop drugs based on the technology itself (GSN 4/30/2009).

As part of the deal, Alnylam had agreed to fund ssRNAi research activities conducted by both companies at a minimum of $3 million a year for three years.

But following a decision by one-time partner Novartis not to take a $100 million license to its intellectual property and technology (GSN 9/30/2010), the RNAi shop appears to be looking to trim costs wherever possible.

In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Alnylam said it had decided to exercise its right to terminate the ssRNAi collaboration, thereby returning all licenses to ssiRNAi technology back to Isis and eliminating its requirement to pay research funding.

Alnylam also said that it would no longer be required to pay Isis a $10 million license milestone that was due before the end of the year.

The company noted that its alliance with Isis related to dsRNAs, which was forged in 2004 (GSN 3/19/2004) remains in effect.


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