Alnylam, Lawsuit Settled, Announces $125 Million Stock Offering

1/15/13Follow @cathyarnst

(Updated 1/16/2013, 7:37 am. See below.)  Two months after agreeing to pay out $65 million to settle a tense intellectual property lawsuit, Cambridge, MA-based Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ALNY) announced on Monday a public stock offering of $125 million.

Alnylam and Tekmira Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: TKMR) had been locked in a legal battle since March 2011, an acrimonious end to an eight-year partnership to develop drugs based on RNA interference (RNAi). Tekmira, based in Vancouver, BC, accused Alnylam of “relentless and egregious” misappropriation of trade secrets and was seeking $1 billion in damages related to intellectual property covering its drug delivery technology. On the eve of starting a jury trial, Alnylam agreed to pay Tekmira $65 million upfront and both sides dropped all litigation.

Alnylam’s stock price has been rising ever since the Tekmira settlement was announced and closed yesterday at $20.55, less than a dollar below its 52-week high.

[Paragraph added with details of the offering.] Alnylam said on Tuesday that the offering will consist of 8 million shares at a price of $20.13 a share, and the offering will close on or about January 22.

At the time of the settlement, Alnylam CEO John Maraganore told Xconomy’s Luke Timmerman that, rather than use Tekmira’s technology, his company would manufacture its own lipid nanoparticles, which are used to deliver RNAi drugs into cells where they are meant to silence disease-causing genes. Alnylam has been building up that capability for a year, he told Luke, and it has enough capacity to make batches of its lead drug candidate ALN-TTR02 for clinical trials and early commercialization.

Last week Maraganore updated Alnylam’s progress on its pipeline, saying its leading drug candidate ALN-TTR02, will advance into a Phase III clinical while a second drug, ALN-TTRsc will enter Phase II, both late this year. Both are being tested against rare genetic diseases. He also said the company expects to report a cash position of $225 million at the end of 2012 when the company announces its year end results.

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