13 January 2014Americas

Alnylam acquires Merck’s RNAi assets and IP

Biopharmaceutical company Alnylam has paid Merck $175 million for its subsidiary Sirna Therapeutics, a firm specialising in RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics.

RNAi is a process in which introducing double-stranded RNA (a biological molecule) inhibits the expression of genes. RNAi therapeutics, which can be highly selective, can be directed towards genetically-defined targets to treat life-threatening diseases.

The deal sees Alnylam assume Sirna’s IP and RNAi assets, including pre-clinical therapeutic candidates, chemistry, small-interfering RNA-conjugate and other delivery technologies.

“We believe that the acquisition of Merck's RNAi technologies and intellectual property will further our efforts to build a new class of medicines, advancing them to patients in need,” said John Maraganore, chief executive of Alnylam.

Iain Dukes, senior vice president of business development and licensing at Merck, said the deal was beneficial for both parties.

“We believe this agreement positions Sirna Therapeutics' therapeutic RNAi assets with a company that has the focus and commitment necessary to harness their potential. This is consistent with our strategy to reduce emphasis on platform technologies and prioritise our R&D efforts to focus on product candidates capable of providing unambiguous promotable advantages to patients and payers.”

Under the agreement, which is worth $150 million in Alnylam stock and $25 million in cash, Merck is eligible to receive up to $105 million in “developmental and sales milestone payments per product, as well as single-digit royalties associated with the progress of certain pre-clinical candidates discovered by Merck”, a statement said.

“Merck is also eligible to receive up to $10 million in milestone payments and single-digit royalties on Alnylam products covered by Sirna Therapeutics’ patent estate,” it added.

Alnylam is developing several RNAi therapeutic drugs. In 2014, the company said, it expects to have six or seven RNAi therapeutic programmes in clinical development – including two programmes in phase 3 – and five or six programmes with human proof of concept by the end of 2015.

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Americas
8 September 2017   Merck has revealed plans to boost its immune-oncology expertise with the acquisition of Germany-based Rigontec.
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9 April 2019   Pharmaceutical companies Alnylam and Regeneron will collaborate on the development and commercialisation of RNA interference therapeutics.

More on this story

Americas
8 September 2017   Merck has revealed plans to boost its immune-oncology expertise with the acquisition of Germany-based Rigontec.
Americas
9 April 2019   Pharmaceutical companies Alnylam and Regeneron will collaborate on the development and commercialisation of RNA interference therapeutics.

More on this story

Americas
8 September 2017   Merck has revealed plans to boost its immune-oncology expertise with the acquisition of Germany-based Rigontec.
Americas
9 April 2019   Pharmaceutical companies Alnylam and Regeneron will collaborate on the development and commercialisation of RNA interference therapeutics.