Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals announced a collaboration to discover, develop and commercialize new RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics for a broad range of diseases by addressing disease targets expressed in the eye and central nervous system (CNS), in addition to a select number of targets expressed in the liver.
The collaboration will leverage both companies’ scientific and technological expertise and will build on Alnylam’s recent preclinical data showing potent and highly durable delivery of RNAi therapeutics to achieve target gene silencing in the eye and CNS. The collaboration will also benefit from Regeneron’s industry-leading VelociSuite® technologies and capabilities from the Regeneron Genetics Center (RGC).
Under the terms of the alliance, Alnylam will work exclusively with Regeneron to discover RNAi therapeutics for eye and CNS diseases. Regeneron will lead development and commercialization for all programs targeting eye diseases, with Alnylam entitled to potential milestone and royalty payments.
The companies will jointly advance and alternate leadership on CNS programs, with the lead party retaining global development and commercial responsibility. For CNS programs, both companies will have the option at candidate selection to participate equally in potential future profits of programs led by the other party.
The collaboration also includes a select number of RNAi therapeutic programs designed to target genes expressed in the liver, which can influence a wide variety of diseases throughout the body. These programs include a planned joint effort evaluating anti-C5 antibody-siRNA combinations for C5 complement-mediated diseases including evaluating the combination of Regeneron’s pozelimab (REGN3918), currently in Phase 1 development, with Alnylam’s cemdisiran, currently in Phase 2 development.
Alnylam will retain control of cemdisiran monotherapy development, and Regeneron will lead combination development. The parties will equally share investment and potential future profits on the monotherapy program, and Alnylam will receive royalties on any potential combination product sales.
For all other alliance liver programs, the parties will alternate leadership and participate equally in potential profits. The companies will continue their previously announced collaboration to identify RNAi therapeutics for the chronic liver disease nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) based on novel RGC findings. Alnylam retains broad global rights to all of its other unpartnered liver-directed clinical and preclinical pipeline programs.
“At Regeneron we believe the best use of our resources is to invest in potentially game-changing science that will yield innovative medicines for patients with serious diseases. This collaboration couples proven and emerging RNAi technology, which holds important promise in many diseases, with Regeneron’s world-leading genetics research and target discovery engine,” said George D. Yancopoulos, M.D., Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer of Regeneron.
“This collaboration enables us to reach targets inside the cell complementing our expertise in antibodies, which are ideal for extracellular targets and those on the cell surface. Through the RGC and our other research groups, we are already identifying additional targets that may be well-suited for RNAi-based drug development, particularly in the eye and CNS.”
“This new industry-leading alliance is aimed at realizing what we believe to be a significant opportunity for RNAi therapeutics as potentially transformative medicines for ocular and CNS diseases. We are thrilled to collaborate with Regeneron, a like-minded science-based organization, to significantly accelerate our efforts to bring RNAi therapeutics to patients,” said John Maraganore, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam.
“Importantly, the alliance structure enables Alnylam to continue to build its industry-leading pipeline of RNAi therapeutics while retaining significant product rights. In addition, the near-term payments under this new agreement will strengthen Alnylam’s balance sheet with over $2 billion in pro forma cash upon closing of the transaction, supporting our global efforts to develop and commercialize multiple products as potentially breakthrough medicines and advance our profile toward sustainable profitability.”
Regeneron has agreed to make a $400 million upfront payment to Alnylam and to purchase $400 million of Alnylam equity at a price per share of $90.00 (4.44 million common shares), based on the volume-weighted average price over the last fifteen-trading-day period. Alnylam is eligible to receive up to an additional $200 million in milestone payments upon achievement of certain criteria during early clinical development for the eye and CNS programs.
The companies plan to advance programs directed to 30 targets and introduce many into clinical development during the initial five-year discovery period, which includes an option to extend. For each program, Regeneron will provide Alnylam with $2.5 million in funding at program initiation and an additional $2.5 million at lead candidate identification, translating to the potential for approximately $30 million in annual discovery funding to Alnylam as the alliance reaches steady state.
The alliance and equity-related agreements are subject to customary closing conditions and clearances, including clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.
Alnylam, alongside multiple other leading life sciences companies, is also a member of Regeneron’s pre-competitive consortium to sequence the DNA of 500,000 individuals in the UK Biobank health resource and subsequently make the data publicly available to the global research community.