VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Dec. 16, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Nasdaq:TKMR) (TSX:TKM), a leading developer of RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics, announced today that it has received a US$5M milestone from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ALNY). In addition, Tekmira is entitled to ongoing royalties related to the product upon commercialization. "We are proud that our proprietary LNP delivery technology is enabling the most advanced applications of RNAi in the clinic. As this ground-breaking class of therapeutics matures and reaches important milestones, such as patisiran entering a Phase III clinical trial, we gain further validation of the efficacy and safety of Tekmira's LNP technology platform," said Dr. Mark J. Murray, Tekmira's President and CEO. "We have leveraged our considerable knowledge of delivery with LNP, the 'gold standard' in the category, to enable Tekmira's proprietary products in development. This $5 million milestone payment, along with other anticipated development milestones and future royalties from partners, contributes to the ongoing advancement of our own product pipeline," added Dr. Murray. Patisiran, an RNAi therapeutic targeting transthyretin (TTR) for the treatment of TTR-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR), is enabled by Tekmira's lipid nanoparticle (LNP) technology. Tekmira is entitled to receive royalties from Alnylam based on the commercial sales of any LNP-enabled products, including patisiran. Alnylam previously reported positive Phase II results and disclosed the initiation of the APOLLO Phase III trial of patisiran – which is currently open for enrollment – to evaluate efficacy and safety of patisiran in ATTR patients with Familial Amyloidotic Polyneuropathy (FAP). More detailed information about the APOLLO Phase III trial and the Phase II data for patisiran (ALN-TTR02) can be found on Alnylam's website at www.alnylam.com . About RNAi and Tekmira's LNP RNAi therapeutics have the potential to treat a broad number of human diseases by "silencing" disease causing genes. The discoverers of RNAi, a gene silencing mechanism used by all cells, were awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi therapeutics, such as "siRNAs," require delivery technology to be effective systemically. Tekmira believes its LNP technology represents the most widely adopted delivery technology for the systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics. Tekmira's LNP platform is being utilized in multiple clinical trials by both Tekmira and its partners. Tekmira's LNP technology (formerly referred to as stable nucleic acid-lipid particles or SNALP) encapsulates siRNAs with high efficiency in uniform lipid nanoparticles that are effective in delivering RNAi therapeutics to disease sites in numerous preclinical models. Tekmira's LNP formulations are manufactured by a proprietary method which is robust, scalable and highly reproducible, and LNP-based products have been reviewed by multiple FDA divisions for use in clinical trials. LNP formulations comprise several lipid components that can be adjusted to suit the specific application.