Alnylam strikes deal with Takeda that could top $1 billion

Chris Anderson
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Lessthan a month after Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. began to put form to itsstated intent to focus on the oncology market with its $8.8 billion buyout ofMillennium Pharmaceuticals, the Asian pharma powerhouse lined up yet anotherduck via an RNAi platform alliance with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals—a deal thatcould potentially add $1 billion to Alnylam coffers. The deal is the firstmajor RNAi alliance between a Japanese pharmaceutical company and U.S.biotech in RNAi therapeutics.
 
Under the terms of the partnership, Alnylam will receive$100 million in upfront payments and $50 million in near-term technologytransfer payments for a non-exclusive license in oncology and metabolicdiseases. The total potential value of the deal could exceed $1 billion infuture research, development and commercial milestones, based on the successfulcommercialization of multiple products. The deal marks the second suchnon-exclusive partnership Alnylam has forged in less than a year. Last year itentered into a similar RNAi pact with Swiss drug company Roche, valued at morethan $278 million.
 
 "What is important to appreciate is that this new,non-exclusive alliance is structured to provide even greater value to Alnylamthan any previous deal to date," says John Maragonore, CEO of Alnylam. "Thisnew platform alliance provides Alnylam [with] the ability to opt in andco-develop and co-commericalize at least four RNAi therapeutic products withTakeda in the U.S market on a 50-50 basis. This opt-in right maybe exercised byAlnylam as late as the start of Phase III trails and we have simply nolimitation on the products we choose. 
 
 "The decision, flexibility and ability to exercise the opt-inlate in clinical trials provides us with a major strategic advantage. The netpresent value for any product so late in development is easily in the hundredsof millions of dollars and therefore this represents an enormously valuableopportunity for our company." 
 
This collaboration provides Takeda with broad, worldwide,non-exclusive access to and enablement with Alnylam's RNAi therapeuticsplatform technology and intellectual property in the fields of oncology andmetabolic disease, with the right to expand the number of therapeutic fields inthe future.  The agreement also includesthe transfer of platform technology from Alnylam to Takeda, a collaboration andcross-license of delivery technologies between the two companies, and a drugdiscovery collaboration on certain RNAi therapeutic targets, subject to certainAlnylam third party obligations. 
 
Takeda becomes Alnylam's strategic partner for RNAitherapeutics over a five-year period and the only Asian company to obtain aright of first negotiation to develop and commercialize Alnylam RNAitherapeutic development programs for the Asian market, excluding Alnylam'sALN-RSV01 program.  In addition, Alnylamobtains opt-in options to co-develop and co-commercialize Takeda RNAitherapeutic programs in the U.S.market on a 50-50 basis. 
  
"We believe this alliance will accelerate our initiatives toestablish the foundation for RNAi drug discovery supported by Alnylam'splatform technologies and know-how. We expect that our product portfolio willbe enhanced by the addition of RNAi therapeutics to our current small moleculeand anti-body research platforms," says Yasuchika Hasegawa, president of Takedain a press release announcing the deal.

Chris Anderson

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