CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Targeting progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), Biogen Idec and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals announced a collaboration to discover and develop RNAi-based therapeutics. The deal involves a $5-million upfront payment to Alnylam and could result in more than $51 million in milestone payments, as well as undisclosed royalties and utilization fees.
"This innovative collaboration to explore using RNAi technology to develop therapeutics for the treatment of PML will build on our work to understand and manage this disease," said Dr. Al Sandrock, Biogen SVP of neurology.
As PML is caused by an opportunistic virus—which infects the brain, leading to death or severe disability—the project falls into line with Alnylam's existing therapeutic programs on respiratory syncytial virus and influenza. It is also the sixth such collaboration Alnylam has signed with large pharmaceutical or biotechnology partners.