Alnylam program update
Based on a poster presentation at this year’s Amercian Society for Hematology meeting (ASH11), also the remaining target pick under Alnylam’s 5x15™ will be a SNALP-based program that targets a gene in the liver: Tmprss6 knockdown for the treatment of iron overload diseases. As such, all of Alnylam’s core clinical programs are SNALP-based. If you had looked at the pipeline 3 years ago, you would have thought that this was where Tekmira was heading. The challenge now will be to clinically mature the programs to a point (in 2015) where the package will be attractive enough for a company like Genzyme/Sanofi-Aventis to acquire the orphan drug company Alnylam for somewhere between $1.0-1.5B.
This development confirms signals that the company has recently started to send out (Rodman Renshaw investor note and comments in the Piper Jaffray presentation) namely that not only is Alnylam now advertising itself as a product, and not platform company, but that it is likely to be all about gene knockdown in the liver. Long gone seem the days when management predicted Alnylam to be the next Genentech. In light of the confrontation with Tekmira, this path opens up the possibility of a settlement whereby Alnylam is allowed continued access to SNALP for the 5 programs, with Tekmira getting full control over other SNALP applications in and especially outside the liver. As a product company that has committed on its programs, why bother with trying to control a platform which is giving Alnylam nothing but legal headaches.
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