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Alnylam and The Medicines Company collaborate on RNAi technology

By Dan Stanton , 05-Feb-2013

With Angiomax potentially going generic in 2015, The Medicines Company has collaborated with Alnylam over a 'pragmatic' high cholesterol drug to aid future growth.

The New Jersey Company has formed a global strategic alliance with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals in the development and commercialization of ALN-PCS, Alnylam’s intravenously administered RNAi therapy. It intends to lead and fund the drug out of the clinical studies stage in a deal which would benefit both companies.

Speaking on a company conference call, Chairman and CEO of Medicines, Clive Meanwell said: “The agreement keeps our short term priorities focused on our late stage assets, while Alnylam will continue to perform early stage development funded by the financial agreement.”

The companies will collaborate on the ALN-PCS programme to produce a therapy for the treatment of hypercholesterolemia.

The technology works by silencing the gene which produces PCSK9 – a protein which is directly involved in the metabolism of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) – via an RNA interference injection.

Meanwell expressed the attractiveness of the therapy “at a pragmatic level.” As a very low volume of subcutaneous injection will be administered over an infrequent period the therapy, Meanwell said it will satisfy patient appliance and the acceptability of the product.

Alnylam last year announced that it had made “astounding progress” in improving the potency of the drug. However, the company had been forced to cut back on staff   following the increasing costs of its RNAi programme.

Alnylam will receive an initial $25m (EUR18m) from medicines though following various milestones this figure may increase by another $180m. Once the product is commercialized Alnylam will be entitled to double-digit royalties.

Medicines ‘Inclined’ to Grow

The agreement with Alnylam is the second sign of growth for Medicines so far this year, as the company prepares for a loss of patent on its lead drug Angiomax.

The company has purchased Incline Therapeutics for an undisclosed figure and plans to bring its Ionsys technology – a system of administering needless postoperative painkillers – to market in the US and Europe.

Angiomax, Medicine’s thrombin inhibitor, potentially loses its patent in 2015.

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