Alnylam is developing an entirely new class of medicines based on the breakthrough discovery in biology known as RNA interference, or RNAi. Alnylam believes that RNAi therapeutics are a promising approach to silence disease-causing genes, and represent an opportunity to transform the treatment of many diseases.
In January 2014, we shared our key pipeline goal for the year. Indeed, as a result of the achievements of the past period, we now believe that we will exceed our original ‘Alnylam 5×15’ guidance as issued in 2011, when we stated we expected to have 5 programs in clinical development by the end of 2015. We now expect to significantly exceed that guidance with six to seven programs in clinical development by the end of 2015, including at least two programs in Phase 3 and five to six programs that will have achieved human proof-of-concept results.
In January 2014, Alnylam and Genzyme formed a transformational alliance with Genzyme for the development and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics as genetic medicines. This new alliance will allow for the accelerated and expanded development and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics across the world. Under the terms of this alliance, Alnylam retains broad product rights in North America and Western Europe, while Genzyme obtains the rights to Alnylam’s genetic medicines pipeline in the rest of the world plus co-development and co-commercialization rights or global rights to three programs. In addition, Genzyme will make a $700 million equity investment in Alnylam. Importantly, this new partnership significantly expands our balance sheet to over $1 billion in cash to increase our investment in new RNAi therapeutic programs, while securing a cash runway that we believe will allow us to develop and launch multiple products as breakthrough medicines for patients in need.
In January 2014, we entered an agreement with Merck, whereby we are acquiring Merck’s wholly owned subsidiary Sirna Therapeutics, Inc. This acquisition provides us with intellectual property and RNAi assets including pre-clinical therapeutic candidates, chemistry, siRNA-conjugate and other delivery technologies. We believe the acquisition of Sirna Therapeutics will complement and extend our own progress and continued focus on RNAi therapeutics, including siRNA-conjugate technologies. The RNAi assets and intellectual property that we are acquiring from Merck will strengthen our efforts to build a new class of medicines, advancing them to patients in need.