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Alnylam, Takeda Ink RNAi Deal

The biotech is licensing its technology to the Japanese drugmaker under a five-year deal.

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY) - Get Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc Report and Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical have teamed up to develop RNAi therapeutics for treatments for cancer and metabolic disease.

RNAi therapeutics target the cause of diseases by silencing specific messenger RNAs (mRNAs) to prevent disease-causing proteins from being made.

According to the five-year agreement, Takeda gets access to Alnylam's RNAi therapeutics platform technology and intellectual property in oncology and metabolic disease, with the option to expand into other therapeutic fields in the future.

Alnylam said Takeda will get a right of "first negotiation" to develop and commercialize Alnylam RNAi therapeutic development programs for the Asian market -- not including the company's ALN-RSV01 program.

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. The company said it will get $100 million upfront and $50 million in near-term technology transfer payments as part of a partnership potentially worth more than $1 billion in future milestones. It will update guidance accordingly with the release of its second-quarter earnings.

In April, Regulus Therapeutics, a joint venture between Alnylam and


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, signed a deal with


(GSK) - Get GlaxoSmithKline plc Sponsored ADR Report

for four microRNA (miRNA)-targeted therapeutics for inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Isis said Tuesday that it will receive $4.6 million from the new Alnylam and Takeda deal and also may receive portions of milestones. In 2004, Alnylam obtained an exclusive license to Isis' intellectual property for double-stranded oligonucleotide therapeutics that mediate RNAi. Isis received an upfront payment in addition to financial participation in future transactions that are supported by the Isis patents.

Shares of the Cambridge, Mass.-based Alnylam started Tuesday up 3.6% on a gap open at $30.50, but lately the stock was down 2.8% at $28.62. Isis shares rose 2.7% to $12.98.