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Alnylam Announces Extension of RNAi Therapeutics Collaboration with Novartis

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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced that Novartis has elected to extend the company’s RNAi therapeutics collaboration for a fifth and final planned year, through October 2010.

The landmark alliance was initiated in October 2005 and is focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics toward a defined number of Novartis-selected disease gene targets.

“We are thrilled that Novartis has once again elected to extend our alliance, this time for a fifth and final planned year,” said John Maraganore, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam. “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. Novartis has been an industry pioneer in recognizing the potential of RNAi therapeutics as a new class of medicines, and we look forward to continuing our work with them.”

In the Novartis-Alnylam collaboration, both companies are jointly responsible for RNAi discovery activities and Novartis is generally responsible for development and commercialization of RNAi therapeutic products. With the extension of the alliance term, Novartis will continue to fund collaboration research and development efforts conducted by Alnylam.

Novartis retains its rights and conditions as per the original 2005 agreement. This includes a right to exercise a non-exclusive platform from Alnylam, in exchange for certain payments due upon platform license exercise, as well as an undisclosed payment and future milestones and royalties.

Further, Novartis retains certain rights to purchase Alnylam equity up to its current ownership level which is approximately 13.4%.