Alnylam Awarded Continued Funding to Develop RNAi Therapeutics for Biological Threats
News Aug 07, 2008
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 committed to $7.5 million of continued funding related to the 2006 contract for the development of a broad spectrum RNAi anti-viral therapeutic against hemorrhagic fever virus, including Ebola virus.
Ebola virus can cause a severe, often fatal infection, and poses a potential biological safety risk and bioterrorism threat.
“We are pleased with the continued support of the federal government for the development of an anti-viral RNAi therapeutic for Ebola,” said Barry Greene, President and Chief Operating Officer. “To date, we have been granted more than $63 million in federal contracts for Alnylam Biodefense, and we are looking forward to continuing our work with the NIH to help strengthen our nation’s capabilities to counter serious biological security threats.”
“We are encouraged by the data we have seen with the Ebola program. These data have demonstrated potent and specific in vivo efficacy mediated by an RNAi mechanism,” said Antonin de Fougerolles, Ph.D., Senior Director of Research at Alnylam. “This funding from the NIAID allows us to continue to develop our technology as we advance our pipeline programs.”
In September 2006, Alnylam was awarded a federal contract providing the company with up to $23 million in funding over a four-year period to develop small interfering RNAs, the molecules that mediate RNAi, as anti-viral drugs targeting Ebola virus.
To date, the government has committed to paying Alnylam up to $14.2 million for the first two years of the contract. As a result of the continued progress of this program, the government has committed to fund an additional $7.5 million over year three of the contract.
Habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and the loss of genetic diversity are the main factors driving the extinction of many wild species, and the few eastern massasauga rattlesnakes remaining in Illinois have certainly suffered two of the three. A long-term study of these snakes reveals, however, that – despite their alarming decline in numbers – they have retained a surprising amount of genetic diversity.READ MORE