Sanofi today announced that it’s rare disease unit Genzyme will be increasing it’s collaboration with Massachusetts based biotech Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to the tune of a $700 million equity investment from the french giant.
The collaboration gives Genzyme, among other things, access to Alnylam’s patisiran, an RNAi therapeutic for TTR-mediated amyloidosis which entered into phase III trials in mid December. Genzyme will also receive access to any more products developed by Alnylam with an application in rare diseases.
In return Alnylam has has tho opportunity to utilise genzymes world leading research and development capabilities in what John Maraganore, CEO of Alnylam, calls “a game changer for the advancement of RNAi therapeutics as a new class of genetic medicines.”
This investment further cements Genzyme’s place at the core of Sanofi. And this is perhaps not surprising given the worse than expected results posted by the Paris based company in 2013. With a number of blockbuster drugs falling off the patent cliff over the last few years for Sanofi, the appeal of the high prices and longer patents found in the orphan drug sector is clear to see.
David Meeker, MD, Genzyme’s President and CEO , said of the investment “[it] strengthens our pipeline and provides us with the opportunity to meet the needs of patients with rare diseases around the world through our well-established global organization”