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Alnylam Pharma's 4Q loss widens on settlement cost

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. said Thursday its fourth-quarter loss ballooned due to costs of settling a licensing dispute with Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp.

The company spent $65 million in November to terminate various licensing arrangements for technology used in the company's drugs. The dispute was about lipid nanoparticle, or LNP, technology, which acts as a delivery mechanism for RNAi therapies. RNAi therapies work by turning off or silencing disease-causing genes. Tekmira and Alnylam had collaborated on drug development and manufacturing since 2004, though Tekmira alleged in 2011 that its partner was misusing its trade secrets.

The $65 million charge deepened Alnylam's loss to $62.2 million, or $1.20 per share, compared with a loss of $14.3 million, or 33 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

Revenue for the period, which is derived from alliances, was $8.5 million, down from $20.5 million in the 2011 quarter. The company does not have any marketed products.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected a net loss of $1.70 million on revenue of $8.9 million, on average.

Alnylam is expected to report mid-stage results of ALN-TTR02 later this year. The drug is designed to treat transthyretin familial amyloid polyneuropathy, a rare condition that is normally treated with a liver transplant.

The company ended 2012 with $226 million in cash and said it expects to finish this year with more than $320 million in cash and cash equivalents.

Company shares fell 56 cents, or 2.3 percent, to close at $23.84. Shares added 3 cents to $23.87 in late trading.