Takeda strikes deal with Alnylam

Non-exclusive platform deal could eventually net Alnylam $1 billion

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Less than a month after Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. began to put form to its stated intent to focus on the oncology market with its $8.8 billion buyout of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, the Asian pharma powerhouse lined up yet another duck via an RNAi platform alliance with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals—a deal that could potentially add $1 billion to Alnylam coffers. The deal is the first major 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 technology transfer payments for a non-exclusive license in oncology and metabolic diseases. The total potential value of the deal could exceed $1 billion in future research, development and commercial milestones, based on the successful commercialization of multiple products. The deal marks the second such non-exclusive partnership Alnylam has forged in less than a year. Last year it entered into a similar RNAi pact with Swiss drug company Roche, valued at more than $278 million.

"What is important to appreciate is that this new, non-exclusive alliance is structured to provide even greater value to Alnylam than any previous deal to date," says John Maragonore, CEO of Alnylam. "This new platform alliance provides Alnylam [with] the ability to opt in and co-develop and co-commericalize at least four RNAi therapeutic products with Takeda in the U.S market on a 50-50 basis. This opt-in right may be exercised by Alnylam as late as the start of Phase III trails and we have simply no limitation on the products we choose.

"The decision, flexibility and ability to exercise the opt-in late in clinical trials provides us with a major strategic advantage. The net present value for any product so late in development is easily in the hundreds of millions of dollars and therefore this represents an enormously valuable opportunity for our company."

This collaboration provides Takeda with broad, worldwide, non-exclusive access to and enablement with Alnylam's RNAi therapeutics platform technology and intellectual property in the fields of oncology and metabolic disease, with the right to expand the number of therapeutic fields in the future.  The agreement also includes the transfer of platform technology from Alnylam to Takeda, a collaboration and cross-license of delivery technologies between the two companies, and a drug discovery collaboration on certain RNAi therapeutic targets, subject to certain Alnylam third-party obligations.

Takeda becomes Alnylam's strategic partner for RNAi therapeutics over a five-year period and the only Asian company to obtain a right of first negotiation to develop and commercialize Alnylam RNAi therapeutic development programs for the Asian market, excluding Alnylam's ALN-RSV01 program.  In addition, Alnylam obtains opt-in options to co-develop and co-commercialize Takeda RNAi therapeutic programs in the U.S. market on a 50-50 basis.

"We believe this alliance will accelerate our initiatives to establish the foundation for RNAi drug discovery supported by Alnylam's platform technologies and know-how. We expect that our product portfolio will be enhanced by the addition of RNAi therapeutics to our current small molecule and antibody research platforms," said Yasuchika Hasegawa, president of Takeda, in a press release announcing the deal. DDN

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