Alnylam Pharmaceuticals earned a development milestone payment from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) totaling $3.2 million. The milestone payment is related to progress in the companies’ collaboration on the use of VaxiRNA™ technology for the production of GSK’s influenza vaccine. Alnylam’s VaxiRNA platform uses RNAi technology for the enhanced manufacturing of vaccine products.

Alnylam’s VaxiRNA platform applies siRNA for the silencing of specific genes that limit or prevent efficient manufacturing of vaccine antigens, including those produced in cell culture and in eggs. The VaxiRNA platform stems from work Alnylam has performed as part of its Alnylam Biotherapeutics efforts, where RNAi technology has been applied to improve the manufacturing of biotherapeutic products, such as recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies.

Alnylam and GSK formed their collaboration in the fourth quarter of 2011. The effort is focused initially on influenza vaccine production in cell culture systems. Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will provide research funding and certain milestone payments to Alnylam, such as the $3.2 million received this quarter. If successfully applied in the manufacturing of commercial product, Alnylam will receive payments on unit product sales of commercialized vaccine product. In addition, GSK has obtained an option for VaxiRNA applications toward two additional vaccine products.

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