Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NasdaqGS:ALNY - News) recently announced it has completed enrollment in a mid-stage study of its pipeline candidate ALN-RSV01, an RNA interference technology (RNAi) therapeutic being studied for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (TSXV:RSV.V - News) infection. The study is being conducted in RSV-infected lung transplant patients at 33 lung transplant centers in six countries. Data from the study is expected in mid-2012.
Alnylam is developing ALN-RSV01 on its own while Cubist Pharmaceuticals (NasdaqGS:CBST - News) has the opt-in right to collaborate with the company in future for the lung transplant indication. Kyowa Hakko Kirin has opt-in rights for the candidate in Asia.
Alnylam’s RNAi technology is potentially revolutionary. Alnylam is utilizing this know-how for selectively turning off the activity of certain genes to build a pipeline of drug candidates to treat a wide array of diseases.
We currently have an Outperform recommendation on Alnylam. The stock carries a Zacks #2 Rank (“Buy”) in the short term. We like the company’s “5X15” initiative which aims at developing products for treating genetically defined diseases with unmet medical needs using the paradigm shifting RNAi technology. We are impressed by the pipeline progress at Alnylam and believe that 2012 will be an important year for the company due to significant clinical catalysts. Moreover, the company has collaborations with some of the big pharmaceutical players like Merck (NYSE:MRK - News), Medtronic (NYSE:MDT - News), Novartis (NYSE:NVS - News), Biogen Idec (NasdaqGS:BIIB - News), Roche (Other OTC:RHHBY.PK - News), Takeda, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and Cubist Pharmaceuticals to further develop and utilize its core technology. These partnerships further validate the potential and viability of the RNAi approach.
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