Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced that it has entered into two relationships providing access to key technologies for the systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics.
The first agreement is with Inex Pharmaceuticals Corporation and provides access to fundamental liposome delivery technology for systemic RNAi therapeutics.
The second agreement is with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and provides access to liposome technology being developed in the laboratory of Professor Robert S. Langer.
Alnylam also announced the publication in Nature of the first demonstration of therapeutic gene silencing in primates with systemic RNAi using liposomal delivery technology.
"We believe that the work we reported today in Nature represents a major step forward in the development of systemic RNAi therapeutics," said John Maraganore, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals.
"Liposomal delivery technology played an important role in this advance, and we believe that these agreements with Inex and MIT position us to expand our pipeline of direct and systemic RNAi therapeutics by applying this technology."
Alnylam and Inex have executed an agreement under which Alnylam has the option to take worldwide exclusive licenses to use Inex's liposomal technology for RNAi therapeutics directed to specific gene targets.
Alnylam will pay option fees to Inex and, in connection with any exclusive license it subsequently takes, license fees, milestone payments and royalties on product sales.
In addition, Alnylam and Inex have entered into a research collaboration under which the two companies will explore the potential of various liposomal formulations for delivery of RNAi therapeutics.
"As pioneers in the development of lipid-based drug delivery systems, we are enthusiastic about joining forces with the pioneers in RNAi therapeutics to explore novel delivery solutions for this exciting new class of drugs," said Timothy M. Ruane, President and Chief Executive Officer of Inex.
"By taking advantage of the leadership of each company in its respective field, we expect this relationship to significantly accelerate the development of truly novel drugs for important diseases."
Alnylam also announced that it has executed an agreement with MIT granting the company an option to take licenses to liposomal drug delivery systems that are being developed in the laboratory of Professor Robert S. Langer.
"We are very enthusiastic about our new formulation technology being developed for siRNA delivery," said Robert S. Langer, Ph.D., Institute Professor at M.I.T.
"Based on Alnylam's encouraging data published today in Nature, we believe this approach holds considerable promise for the delivery of innovative medicines that harness the RNAi pathway to address human disease."