Alnylam Pharmaceuticals received $38.6 million from the United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) to develop a broad spectrum RNAi antiviral therapeutic for hemorrhagic fever. The company states that this 33-month contract will also allow it to extend and leverage its capabilities across its entire proprietary and partnered pipeline.
“This funding represents continued federal government support of RNAi as a potential therapeutic platform for biodefense and biopreparedness while allowing us to continue to develop our technology as we advance our pipeline programs,” states Barry Greene, COO of Alnylam.
The Alnylam Biodefense initiative has the potential to create near-term value with the possibility of obtaining accelerated FDA approval and revenues from government stockpiling. “Combined with our Ebola contract from the National Institutes of Health for $23 million awarded in September 2006 and other sources of federal funding,” Greene continues, “we have now been granted more than $63 million in federal contracts for Alnylam Biodefense.”
Under the current DTRA program, Alnylam will investigate the silencing of endogenous host targets believed to be involved in viral pathogenesis and progression of hemorrhagic fever. Alnylam will produce drug candidates, and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases will conduct in vitro and in vivo testing. The company believes that the funding will fully support R&D activities up to Phase I trials.