Alnylam Pharmaceuticals last week announced that Novartis has decided to extend the companies' RNAi therapeutics collaboration for a fifth year, the last under the terms of the deal, through October 2010.
The deal was first announced in Sept. 2005, and called for Alnylam to optimize certain of Novartis' lead RNAi drug candidates, which Novartis would develop and commercialize (see RNAi News, 9/9/2005).
The deal had an initial three-year term, but included the option for Novartis to extend it for two additional one-year periods.
In addition to paying Alnylam upfront fees, research funding, and milestones, Novartis purchased what was then 19.9 percent of the RNAi drug shop's equity. That stake currently stands at around 13.4 percent, according to Alnylam.
"We are thrilled that Novartis has once again elected to extend our alliance, this time for a fifth and final planned year," Alnylam CEO John Maraganore said in a statement. "This is the second extension that Novartis has elected to make, which we believe reflects the success of our collaborative efforts as well as the scientific progress we have made in advancing our innovative technology to patients."