GSK, Alnylam collaborate to apply VaxiRNA technology for influenza vaccine production

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALNY), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today it has formed a collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) focused on Alnylam's VaxiRNATM technology for certain GSK vaccine products, including influenza. VaxiRNA is a new RNAi technology for the enhanced production of viruses used in the manufacture of vaccine products. GSK, a leading vaccine manufacturer, is the first company to form a collaboration accessing this new platform.

"At Alnylam, we continue to pioneer innovative opportunities for our RNAi platform that could have transformative impact in medicine and the biopharmaceutical industry. This is exemplified with VaxiRNA, where siRNA technology is being used to increase virus titers in the production of vaccine products. Since production of vaccines can be limiting for the scale and speed of global immunization against many pathogens, including influenza, we believe that VaxiRNA can become an enabling technology for the broader vaccine industry," said John Maraganore, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam. "As we advance our VaxiRNA effort, we are excited to form a new collaboration with GSK, a global leader and innovator in vaccine development and manufacturing. With GSK, we aim to apply VaxiRNA technology to enhance influenza vaccine production in cell culture, where Alnylam will receive research funding, in addition to potential milestones and payments on unit sales of commercialized vaccine product."

Alnylam's VaxiRNA platform applies siRNAs for the silencing of specific genes that limit or prevent efficient growth of viruses in vaccine manufacturing systems, including those in cell culture and also in eggs. The VaxiRNA platform stems from work Alnylam has performed as part of its Alnylam Biotherapeutics efforts, where RNAi technology has been applied to improve the manufacture of biotherapeutic products, such as recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies. This new platform addresses the significant unmet commercial need for innovative technologies that can improve the manufacture of vaccine products, especially where vaccine production is a limiting factor for the scale and speed of global immunization needs.

The GSK collaboration is focused initially on influenza vaccine production in cell culture systems. Under the terms of the agreement, GSK will provide funding and certain milestone payments to Alnylam. If successfully applied in the manufacture of commercial product, Alnylam will receive payments on unit product sales. In addition, GSK has obtained an option for VaxiRNA applications toward two additional vaccine products.


Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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