Finding Gold In An Unfavored Space: Servier And MicroRNA Start Up Miragen In CV Deal
This article was originally published in The Pink Sheet Daily
Starting with a $45 million upfront, the potential value of this deal, which centers on three pre-clinical cardiovascular targets, could reach up to $1 billion, if the companies meet regulatory and commercial milestones.
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While interest in microRNA may not be moving at the speed that some investors (and, certainly, some smaller companies) may like, Big Pharma has taken notice of the little oligos and is watching the sector.
In mid-November, in a move that seemingly came from the top, Roche opted to cease all activity in RNA interference technology, preferring to invest in other areas like next-generation antibodies and peptide therapeutics. These days RNAi company Alnylam might have some difficult questions to answer about its business development strategy - only nobody's really asking. That's because even as Roche weighs its options around divestiture of its RNAi license, technology and research sites, the future of Alnylam - and the field of RNAi more generally - is now tied solely to establishing clinical proof-of-concept for siRNA drugs, and eventually getting those drugs to market.
Alnylam's monster deal with Roche for non-exclusive rights to the biotech's RNAi platform across four therapeutic areas sets the bar for technology platform monetization. Not only is Alnylam gaining $331 million in upfront payments, it can turn around and re-license those same rights at any time. Roche is for the first time making a splash in RNAi, which it and other companies are betting will be a new therapeutic modality.