Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Medtronic, Inc. & CHDI, Inc. Form RNAi Delivery Collaboration

Nov 08, 2010 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Medtronic Inc., and CHDI Foundation, Inc., announced that they have formed a collaboration to advance ALN-HTT, a novel drug-device combination for the treatment of Huntington's disease.

In a release, the groups said that ALN-HTT consists of an RNAi therapeutic targeting huntingtin, the gene responsible for Huntington's disease, that is being developed for delivery to the central nervous system (CNS) using an implantable infusion system developed by Medtronic. CHDI is a not-for-profit virtual biotech company that is exclusively dedicated to rapidly discovering and developing therapies that slow the progression of Huntington's disease.

"Alnylam and Medtronic have shown leadership and encouraging progress in developing a novel drug-device combination for the treatment of Huntington's disease," said Robi Blumenstein, President of CHDI Management. "Their collaborative approach demonstrates a combined commitment to tackle this devastating disease and this program is closely aligned with CHDI's mission. We welcome the opportunity to accelerate this program and look forward to continued advancement toward clinical testing in patients."

According to the groups, Alnylam and Medtronic have worked collaboratively to advance ALN-HTT for the treatment of Huntington's disease. Under this new collaboration, CHDI has agreed to initially fund up to 50 percent of the investigational new drug (IND) application-enabling activities. The agreement between Alnylam and Medtronic will remain as a 50-50 partnership in the United States. Medtronic will commercialize the therapy consisting of the RNAi compound and delivery device. In the United States, Alnylam has the opportunity to invest in clinical development through product launch in return for a proportional share of the profits. In Europe, Medtronic is solely responsible for development and commercialization, and Alnylam is eligible to receive milestones and royalties.

"We are very pleased to add CHDI as a partner in our Huntington's disease program; they bring a tremendous amount of disease area expertise that will contribute to advancing ALN-HTT towards the clinic with Medtronic," said Dinah Sah, Ph.D., Vice President, Research, at Alnylam. "Our pre-clinical data provide a strong rationale for this program, and we remain encouraged by the potential that ALN-HTT may offer to patients."

"The ALN-HTT program represents an exciting opportunity to combine innovative medicines with our drug delivery technology in an area of extreme unmet medical need," said Gregory Stewart, Ph.D., Director of CNS Drug Therapy R&D in the Neuromodulation Business at Medtronic. "With no effective disease-modifying therapies available currently for patients afflicted with Huntington's disease, the collaboration between Alnylam and Medtronic, and now support from CHDI, will work to develop a novel treatment strategy for this devastating neurodegenerative disease."

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