Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Tekmira Pharmaceuticals are collaborating to discover cationic lipids and lipid nanoparticles for the systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics. Such technology could improve potency and broaden biodistribution, believes Barry Greene, president and COO of Alnylam.
Under the terms of the two-year research arrangement, Alnylam will receive exclusive rights to all new inventions as well as rights to sublicense any resulting intellectual property. Tekmira receives rights to use new inventions for their own RNAi therapeutic programs licensed under Alnylam intellectual property.
Alnylam will fund the research work, which will be conducted by scientists at The University of British Columbia (UBC) and AlCana Technologies. UBC and AlCana will focus on generating novel cationic lipids to be evaluated in lipid nanoparticles. “Alnylam and Tekmira will share in the development of new intellectual property that we believe will further extend our industry leadership position in the delivery of RNAi therapeutics,” adds Mark J. Murray, Tekmira’s president and CEO.
Alnylam and Tekmira have each advanced a systemic RNAi therapeutic program to the clinic using Tekmira’s stable nucleic acid lipid particle (SNALP) technology. Alnylam’s ALN-VSP is in a Phase I study as a treatment for patients with advanced solid tumors with liver involvement including hepatocellular carcinoma. Tekmira initiated a Phase I trial with ApoB SNALP to evaluate it in patients with high LDL cholesterol.