Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Sanofi company Genzyme has entered into a deeper collaboration to develop and market treatments targeting rare genetic diseases. Genzyme announced this week that it has become a major Alnylam shareholder with an estimated 12% stake through a $700 million equity investment. Alnylam announced the partnership to its shareholders on the same day.
Genzyme attains rights to Alnylam’s clinical and pre-clinical stage potential drug portfolio through the new collaboration. Alnylam retains most of its product rights in Western Europe as well as North America. The company’s partnership with Genzyme opens doors to crucial development and marketing opportunities, thanks to the latter’s established worldwide infrastructure in rare genetic diseases.
Alnylam CEO John Maraganore, Ph.D., said that the new partnership with Genzyme is a transformational move for his company. “This new relationship with Genzyme is… a game changer for both the advancement of RNAi therapeutics as a new class of genetic medicines to patients around the world, and for our commitment to build a leading, independent biopharmaceutical company that delivers value to our shareholders.”
The two companies have already collaborated in an exclusive alliance formed in 2012 to develop patisiran, a leading Alnylam product. Patisiran is under Phase 3 development for treating a rare and severely damaging nervous system disease called transthyretin (TTR)-familial amyloid polyneuropathy.
Genzyme President and CEO David Meeker, MD, said his company’s relationship with Alnylam has been highly collaborative. “This collaboration is an important building block for our future. It strengthens our pipeline and provides us with the opportunity to meet the needs of patients with rare diseases around the world through our well-established global organization. This transaction also powerfully underscores Sanofi’s commitment to investing in Genzyme as one of the company’s key growth drivers. …Their world-class RNAi technology holds the promise to provide a platform for sustained drug development for rare genetic diseases for years to come.”
Dr. Maraganore said, “In this new alliance, Alnylam benefits enormously from Genzyme’s proven global capabilities, enabling us to accelerate and expand market access for our ‘Alnylam 5x15’ products.”