Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc.
) announced that it has inked a deal with Ascletis Pharmaceuticals,
to develop Alnylam's oncology candidate ALN-VSP. Ascletis Pharma is
a privately-held US-China joint venture pharmaceutical company.
The strategic collaboration provides Ascletis exclusive rights to
develop and commercialize ALN-VSP for treating patients suffering
from liver cancers such as hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in China,
including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. Alnylam will continue to be
responsible for developing and commercializing the candidate in the
Rest of the World (ROW).
Per the terms of the agreement, Ascletis will move ALN-VSP into
phase II studies for the HCC indication. We note that the candidate
has already completed phase I studies. Further development and
subsequent commercialization of ALN-VSP in Ascletis' markets will
earn Alnylam development and commercial milestones and
Even though Alnylam is responsible for ALN-VSP in ROW, the
agreement permits it to use data generated by Ascletis for
developing the candidate in those markets. Further financial
details of the deal were not revealed.
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The collaboration regarding the development of ALN-VSP is a prudent
move by Alnylam since the liver cancer market in China represents
an area with high unmet medical need. Consequently, the successful
development and commercialization of the candidate in China would
bring in substantial revenues for Alnylam.
ALN-VSP, once approved and launched, would compete with drugs such
) Nexavar in the liver cancer market.
We currently have a Neutral recommendation on Alnylam. The stock
carries a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold rating) in the short-run.