Alnylam and Monsanto form biopesticide partnership

Alnylam will get $29.2M from Monsanto as companies start RNA interference pesticide pact

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Monsanto are teaming up to develop biological pesticides that use RNA interference technology.

Alnylam develops drugs that use RNA interference technology, or RNAi, to shut down the proteins at the root of a disease or condition. The 10-year collaboration announced Tuesday will expand the offerings of Monsanto's BioDirect technology platform, which uses molecules found in nature to combat viruses, weeds, and insects. Monsanto says biopesticides can complement or replace chemicals.

Alnylam will get $29.2 million upfront from Monsanto, and $1.4 million of that total will go to Alnylam's partner Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. Alnylam can also receive funding for collaborative research. Both Alnylam and Isis will also be eligible for future milestone payments and royalties from sales of any products that are developed.

Alnylam is based in Cambridge, Mass., and it reported $82.8 million in total revenue in 2011.

Shares of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. rose 57 cents, or 3.2 percent, to $18.31 in afternoon trading. Isis, which is based in Carlsbad, Calif., gained 7 cents to $13.88. Shares of Monsanto Co. , based in St. Louis, picked up 18 cents to $86.31.

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