Alnylam Reports Grant of Fundamental RNAi Patent by the European Patent Office; Patent is Third Key RNAi Patent in Alnylam Portfolio Granted by EPO
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. & LONDON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--June 16, 2005--Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ALNY), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, and Cancer Research Technology Limited ("CRT") announced today that notice of grant has been received from the European Patent Office ("EPO") for an important new RNAi patent entitled "Inhibiting gene expression with double-stranded RNA" to which Alnylam has exclusive therapeutic rights, through its existing license agreement with CRT. The newly granted patent includes broad claims covering therapeutic use of double-stranded RNA expressed from endogenous templates or expression vectors to mediate RNA interference (RNAi). This is the first of multiple European patents expected to stem from the RNAi patent application filed by CRT based on the pioneering work of Dr. Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz and colleagues Dr. Florence Wianny, Professor David Glover and Professor Martin Evans at the University of Cambridge, England. Patents based on this application have previously been issued by the Registry of Patents in Singapore (number 89569) and by the Australian Patent Office (AU774285). Alnylam holds worldwide exclusive therapeutic rights to this CRT patent under its 2003 license agreement with CRT.
"The pioneering RNAi research performed by Dr. Zernicka-Goetz and colleagues provided one of the earliest demonstrations of RNAi-mediated inhibition of endogenous genes in mammalian cells," said John Maraganore, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. "This is the first grant from the CRT patent estate in Europe and further extends the far-reaching position Alnylam has established in intellectual property required for the development and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics."
The new CRT patent is the third key RNAi patent granted by the EPO within the broad portfolio of RNAi intellectual property held by Alnylam. In May 2005, the EPO granted a new patent to Alnylam in the "Kreutzer-Limmer" patent family, with broad claims covering therapeutic compositions, methods, and uses of short interfering RNAs, the molecules that mediate RNAi, and derivatives with a length between 15 and 49 nucleotides. This was the second patent granted by the EPO in the Kreutzer-Limmer family, and significantly extended the scope of the original Kreutzer-Limmer patent granted in 2002.
About RNA Interference (RNAi)
RNA interference, or RNAi, is a naturally occurring mechanism within cells for selectively silencing and regulating specific genes. Since many diseases are caused by the inappropriate activity of specific genes, the ability to silence and regulate such genes selectively through RNAi could provide a means to treat a wide range of human diseases. The discovery of RNAi has been heralded by many as a major breakthrough, and the journal Science named RNAi the top scientific achievement of 2002, as well as one of the top 10 scientific advances of 2003.
Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company seeking to develop and commercialize novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. Growing from its foundation as the world's first company focused on RNAi therapeutics, the company's leadership in the field of RNAi is supported by its preeminent founders and advisors and its strengths in fundamental patents, technology, and know-how that underlie the commercialization of RNAi therapeutics. Alnylam is developing a pipeline of RNAi products using Direct RNAi to treat ocular, central nervous system, and respiratory diseases and Systemic RNAi to treat a broad range of diseases, including oncology, metabolic, and autoimmune diseases. The company's global headquarters are in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For additional information, please visit www.alnylam.com.
About Cancer Research Technology Limited
Cancer Research Technology Limited (CRT) is the leading oncology focused technology transfer and development company, which aims to maximise cancer patient benefit. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. CRT is wholly owned by Cancer Research UK, the largest independent funder of cancer research in the world. Further information about CRT can be found at www.cancertechnology.com. Cancer Research UK is Europe's leading cancer charity, dedicated to research into the causes, prevention and treatment of cancer. The charity supports the work of 3,000 scientists, doctors and nurses in over 80 academic centers across the UK, with an annual scientific spend of more than GBP 213 million. Further information about Cancer Research UK can be found at www.cancerresearchuk.org.
Alnylam Forward-Looking Statements
Various statements in this release concerning our future expectations, plans, prospects and future operating results constitute forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including risks related to: our approach to discover and develop novel drugs, which is unproven and may never lead to marketable products; our ability to obtain additional funding to support our business activities; our dependence on third parties for development, manufacture, marketing, sales and distribution of our products; the successful development of products, all of which are in early stages of development; obtaining regulatory approval for products; competition from others using technology similar to ours and others developing products for similar uses; obtaining, maintaining and protecting intellectual property utilized by our products; and our short operating history; as well as those risks more fully discussed in the "Certain Factors That May Affect Future Results" section of our most recent Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent our views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date. We do not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
SOURCE: Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Lilian Stern, Stern Investor Relations, Inc.
Cancer Research Technology
+44 (0) 207 269 3552
Cancer Research Technology
+44 (0) 207 269 3640