Alnylam Banks $450 Million to Fund Ambitious Pipeline Goals
Published: Jan 21, 2015
January 20, 2015
By Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Sr. Editor
Cash-flush biotech Alnylam Pharmaceuticals made news Tuesday when it said it aims to have three drugs on the market and 10 in clinical trials by the end of 2020, and will use a secondary stock offering of $450 million to fund that effort. That money will make it one of biotech’s most cash-rich companies, funding it will need to capitalize on the “RNA Renaissance.”
The news comes a year neighboring Genzyme Corp. bought a 12 percent stake in the company for $700 million, as parent company Sanofi doubles down on late-stage clinical results.
Cambridge, Mass.-based Alnylam said last week it would implement a new company structure to focus on the three strategic areas of advanced drugs, cardio-metabolic disease and Hepatic Infectious Disease. It initially made the announcement as part of its Research and Development Day in New York City last week but it gained traction Tuesday after it said it would issue a $450 million stock offering, in an attempt to boost its clinical drug pipeline by 50 percent.
Wall Street appeared to sanction the move, despite any possible dilution to existing shareholders—the stock price of Alnylam dipped only a few percentage points. Alnylam market cap stands at a hefty $7.8 billion, a whopping rise of 67 percent in the last calendar year, value which has no gone unnoticed.
“A likely reason is a realization among investors that despite the dilution that comes with any stock offering, the company's bold new plans announced over the past month, which includes plans to, will require plenty of cash in coming years,” wrote the Boston Business Journal.
Alnylam’s new structure will have three distinct units. Its Genetic Medicines division wrap in late-stage drugs patisiran and revusiran, while a new, unnamed unit will tackle cardio-metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemias, hypertension, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
Thirdly, its Hepatic Infectious Disease, which could be the potentially most lucrative based on the sheer number of chronic patients and the massive price tags of competitor’s like Gilead. ’s Harvoni and Sovaldi, will be its last component. Alnylam’s strategy there will focus on hepatitis B and hepatitis D, perhaps in an attempt to differentiate itself from larger competitors like Gilead and AbbVie .
The market is also closely watching Alnylam’s Phase I hemophilia treatment ALN-AT3. Alnylam said 2015 will see specific plans for developing drugs within each of these units.
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