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Alnylam taps Dowpharma: Dowpharma to produce siRNAs as Alnylam pushes two programs closer to clinical trials
May 2005
by Chris Anderson  |  Email the author


CAMBRIDGE, Mass.óRNAi biopharmaceutical company Alnylam took another step on the road to moving its age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection programs closer to clinical trials in late March by naming Dowpharma its manufacturer-of-choice for large-scale quantities of short interfering RNAs (siRNAs).
According to Barry Greene, COO of Alnylam, the process to choose an siRNA manufacturer started soon after the company was formed in 2002. "We met with virtually all the companies who could provide this service," says Greene. "We chose Dowpharma because we wanted a company that could provide us with consistent quality, but also because we were looking for a company that could provide commercial-grade material once the product is launched."
While Alnylam has the capability to produce small to large research-scale quantities of siRNAs, the move to this next step would have consumed a significant amount of company resources. Further, Greene says Alynlam officials were impressed with the commitment Dowpharma was willing to make in terms of a close collaboration between scientists at the two companies, the assignment of top-notch Dow employees to the project and the company's willingness to meet aggressive timelines.
For Dowpharma, it is a challenge undertaken willingly. "We are very pleased to support the development of Alnylam's breakthrough therapeutics, which have such great potential to significantly enhance people's lives," says Nick Hyde, business director, in a press release announcing the agreement. "Dowpharma can support Alnylam's success in this application through our breadth and competence in operational excellence, technical development and analytical insight."
Gaining that expertise is exactly what Alynylam hopes for, as it allows the company to continue focusing on its core business of identifying siRNAs for potential development. "What a make/buy decision with a company like Dow allows us to do is provide virtually unlimited scale to bring a number of compounds into clinical development and to build a rich and robust multi-product pipeline," says Greene.
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