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Alnylam, Novartis Extend RNA Interference Collaboration

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, the developer of drugs using RNA interference technology, said today that Switzerland-based pharmaceutical company Novartis has chosen to extend their RNAi collaboration another year, through October 2009. The partnership, worth as much as $700 million to Alnylam if certain development milestones are met, was first struck in 2005. Under the deal, Novartis (NYSE: NVS) retains rights to buy as much as 19.9 percent of Alnylam’s stock (NASDAQ: ALNY) and it currently owns a 13.4 percent stake, Alnylam said.