Biogen Idec and Alnylam formed a collaboration to discover and develop RNAi therapeutics for the potential treatment of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). PML is caused by infection of the central nervous system with the JC virus and can occur in certain immune-suppressed patients, including those receiving immunomodulatory therapies.
Alnylam and Biogen Idec will initially conduct investigative research into the potential of using RNAi technology to develop therapeutics to treat PML. Biogen Idec will fund all R&D activities, and Alnylam will receive an upfront payment of $5 million. Assuming this collaboration results in successful development and utilization of any product, Alnylam will receive more than $51 million in milestone payments, as well as undisclosed royalties and utilization fees.