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Alnylam Awarded $23 Million U.S. Government Contract to Develop RNAi Therapeutics

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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced that the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded the company a contract to advance the development of a broad spectrum RNAi anti-viral therapeutic against hemorrhagic fever virus, including the Ebola virus.

The federal contract (No. HHSN266200600012C) will provide Alnylam with $23 million in funding over four-year period to develop small interfering RNAs as anti-viral drugs targeting the Ebola virus.

The Ebola virus can cause a severe, often fatal infection, and poses a potential biological safety risk and bioterrorism threat.

With this contract, the company is establishing Alnylam Biodefense™, an initiative to build a platform for developing RNAi therapeutics targeting threats of bioterrorism.

Funding for this program, as with Alnylam’s pandemic flu program, represents an example of broad public health and federal interest in the potential of RNAi technology to treat and prevent disease from these, and other serious and life-threatening viruses.

U.S. Government funding for development of RNAi therapeutics for Ebola virus extends Alnylam’s anti-viral pipeline, including programs for treatment of respiratory syncytial virus with ALN-RSV01, currently in Phase I clinical trials; pandemic influenza with ALN-FLU01 in a partnership with Novartis; and, JC virus in a recently announced partnership with Biogen Idec.

"We are pleased to receive this contract to develop an anti-viral RNAi therapeutic for Ebola, enabling us to launch efforts on our Alnylam Biodefense platform," said Barry Greene, Chief Operating Officer of Alnylam.

"We view this project as an important opportunity to strengthen our nation’s capabilities to counter serious biological security threats."

"In terms of our overall business strategy, funding for Alnylam Biodefense efforts will strengthen our platform capabilities and its applications for discovery of RNAi therapeutics for traditional clinical indications."

"Moreover, we believe that successful advancement of our Alnylam Biodefense efforts could create the potential for nearer-term product opportunities as a result of possible accelerated paths to approval and revenues from government stockpiling contracts."