CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALNY), the leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today that Muthiah (Mano) Manoharan, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Drug Innovation Chemistry at Alnylam, has been awarded the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society (OTS), an open, nonprofit organization to foster academia and industry-based research and development of oligonucleotide therapeutics. The OTS Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes Dr. Manoharan’s enduring commitment to the field of oligonucleotide therapeutics and his outstanding contributions to education, research, and therapeutic application. Dr. Manoharan’s accomplishments will be recognized at the 15th OTS Annual Meeting in Munich, Germany, where he will give an award lecture entitled “Living in the World of Oligonucleotide Therapeutics” today at 12:05 pm CEST.
“I am deeply humbled by this recognition from the OTS and have been fortunate to work with countless passionate and creative scientists throughout my career to transform complex chemistry into medicines for people living with serious illnesses,” said Dr. Manoharan. “As Alnylam’s first chemist, I’ve had the incredible opportunity to drive and shape the development of RNAi therapeutics alongside some of the community’s brightest minds. I owe this honor to them and the community at large.”
“I congratulate Mano for receiving this highly esteemed award. His efforts over the years have been instrumental in imparting therapeutic potential to siRNAs and engineering delivery platforms that have enabled reproducible gene silencing and the development of a new class of medicines. Notably, Mano led Alnylam’s pioneering advancement of siRNA conjugates,” said John Maraganore, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam. “Without a doubt, this timely recognition is well-deserved and warmly echoed by his Alnylam colleagues.”
Dr. Manoharan is an internationally-renowned chemist in the areas of oligonucleotide chemical modifications, conjugation chemistry, and delivery platforms. He began working in the field of oligonucleotides as a post-doctoral research associate at Yale University in 1983, where he delineated the mechanism of action of DNA repair enzymes using synthetic oligonucleotides. Following his industrial career at Lifecodes Corporation starting in 1988 and continuing at Isis Pharmaceuticals since 1990, he moved to Alnylam in 2003. At Alnylam, he pioneered the discovery and development of the chemical modifications that have enabled the delivery of siRNAs, leading to the development of ONPATTRO® (patisiran), the first RNAi therapeutic approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2018. Dr. Manoharan and his research group also demonstrated for the first time the human therapeutic applications of GalNAc-conjugated oligonucleotides, a platform that is regarded as having revolutionized the field of nucleic acid-based therapeutics. He is an author of more than 215 publications and over 400 abstracts, as well as an inventor on more than 240 issued U.S. patents.
RNAi (RNA interference) is a natural cellular process of gene silencing that represents one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug development today. Its discovery has been heralded as “a major scientific breakthrough that happens once every decade or so,” and was recognized with the award of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. By harnessing the natural biological process of RNAi occurring in our cells, a new class of medicines, known as RNAi therapeutics, is now a reality. Small interfering RNA (siRNA), the molecules that mediate RNAi and comprise Alnylam's RNAi therapeutic platform, function upstream of today’s medicines by potently silencing messenger RNA (mRNA) – the genetic precursors – that encode for disease-causing proteins, thus preventing them from being made. This is a revolutionary approach with the potential to transform the care of patients with genetic and other diseases.
About Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Alnylam (ALNY) is leading the translation of RNA interference (RNAi) into a new class of innovative medicines with the potential to transform the lives of people afflicted with rare genetic, cardio-metabolic, hepatic infectious, and central nervous system/ocular diseases. Based on Nobel Prize-winning science, RNAi therapeutics represent a powerful, clinically validated approach for the treatment of diseases with high unmet need. Alnylam’s first commercial RNAi therapeutic is ONPATTRO® (patisiran), approved in the U.S., EU, Canada, Japan, and Switzerland. Alnylam has a deep pipeline of investigational medicines, including five product candidates in Phase 3 studies and one in registration. Looking forward, Alnylam will continue to execute on its "Alnylam 2020" strategy of building a multi-product, commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company with a sustainable pipeline of RNAi-based medicines to address the needs of patients who have limited or inadequate treatment options. Headquartered in Cambridge, MA, Alnylam employs over 1,200 people worldwide. For more information about our people, science and pipeline, please visit www.alnylam.com and engage with us on Twitter at @Alnylam or on LinkedIn.