Alnylam Takes Moment to Pause on Cutting Edge, Mull Options on RSV Game Plan

8/11/09Follow @xconomy

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its existing lead candidate in further clinical trials of adult and pediatric patients. It can move ahead with the existing drug, ALN-RSV01 in adults, while saving the second-generation product for children. Or, it might not go forward in testing with adult patients, and use the second-generation product for testing in children, Maraganore says.

The decision, which involves Alnylam, Cubist and Asian partner Kyowa Hakko Kirin, is expected by the end of the year, Maraganore says. While I was trying to press him for a definite answer, he made sure to keep his options open.

Analysts on the company’s second-quarter conference call didn’t seem too concerned about this bit of uncertainty about the RSV program, particularly since Alnylam has plenty of other things going on, with two major pharmaceutical company partnerships expected by the end of the year, and an interesting new collaboration with Vancouver, BC-based Alcana Technologies to develop more effective RNAi-delivery capsules that can circulate through the body.

Simos Simeonidis, an analyst who follows Alnylam for Rodman & Renshaw, said he’s still awaiting word on the RSV program by the end of the year, but nothing really happened in the last quarter to change his view of the company. That is certainly not in any gray zone—Simeonidis’ price target for Alnylam is a bullish $37 per share. “We view Alnylam as a core long term holding in biotech given its leading position in both IP and development in the RNA therapeutics space, and a technology with the potential to transform drug development,” Simeonidis wrote in a note to clients Aug. 6.

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