Healthcare Industry News: RNAi therapeutics
News Release - June 2, 2010
Alnylam Strengthens Management Team with New Key AppointmentsCAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALNY ), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today the expansion of its management team with the appointments of Laurence Reid, Ph.D. as Senior Vice President, Chief Business Officer, and Kenneth Koblan, Ph.D. as Vice President, Distinguished Alnylam Fellow. Dr. Reid joins Alnylam from Ensemble Discovery Corporation, where he held the position of Chief Business Officer. In his new role at Alnylam, Dr. Reid will play a critical role in leading the company’s business development efforts. Dr. Koblan was previously with Merck Research Laboratories where he most recently held the position of Vice President and site head of Rahway Basic Research. At Alnylam, Dr. Koblan will be responsible for driving key initiatives related to the research and development of emerging RNA technologies.
“We are extremely pleased that both Laurence and Ken have joined the Alnylam team at such an exciting time for the company,” said John Maraganore, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam. “Each of these individuals brings extensive experience, a deep understanding of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, and a proven track record of success. We believe that it is through our ability to attract such highly qualified individuals that we are able to continue advancing our innovations, and execute on our mission of building Alnylam as a top-tier biopharmaceutical company founded on RNAi.”
Dr. Reid brings to Alnylam over 20 years of experience within the global biotechnology industry, including business development and strategic planning. During his tenure at Ensemble Discovery, he led the development and implementation of key business strategies for the company’s therapeutic and diagnostic portfolios, as well as executed major therapeutic discovery alliances with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer Inc. Prior to that, Dr. Reid worked as a founder of two start-up companies in the fields of stem cell therapeutics and inflammation. He previously spent ten years at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc., where he had worked in a range of general management and business development positions. Roles included General Manager of Millennium UK with responsibility for Millennium’s European operations, Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Planning for the company’s predictive medicine efforts, as well as in pharmaceutical business development and technology acquisition. Before joining Millennium, he was an assistant editor of the journal Cell. Dr. Reid received his Ph.D. from London University and his B.A. from Cambridge University.
“I am thrilled to be joining Alnylam and to be a part of a team that is so passionate and committed to advancing RNAi therapeutics to patients,” said Dr. Reid. “Alnylam has made tremendous progress in advancing this innovative technology into an entirely new class of medicines, both internally and through the partnerships it has formed across the entire pharmaceutical industry. I look forward to working with the management team here to continue strengthening the value from both our existing partners and with new partnerships going forward.”
Dr. Koblan has demonstrated a proven track record of success within the pharmaceutical industry. During his 18 years with Merck Research Laboratories, he held several positions of increasing responsibility culminating in his role as Vice President and site head of Rahway Basic Research. In this role, Dr. Koblan was responsible for leading basic biology and medicinal chemistry research at Merck’s largest research center. During his career, Dr. Koblan and his teams delivered Phase III registration programs, Phase IIb development programs, and the advancement of key pre-clinical drug discovery programs. Dr. Koblan also led the implementation of a significant restructuring initiative that served as a foundation for sustainable growth within Merck Research Laboratories. Dr. Koblan received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University and his B.S. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
“Alnylam’s scientific leadership position across the broad opportunities of RNAi technology is unmatched in the industry,” said Dr. Koblan. “Through initiatives such as Regulus and Alnylam Biotherapeutics, in addition to the dramatic progress it has made in the development of RNAi therapeutics, the company has led the industry’s advancement of RNA-based medicines. I am really looking forward to working with the outstanding team in place to further explore and develop novel applications of our RNAi technology.”
About RNA Interference (RNAi)
RNAi (RNA interference) is a revolution in biology, representing a breakthrough in understanding how genes are turned on and off in cells, and a completely new approach to drug discovery and development. Its discovery has been heralded as “a major scientific breakthrough that happens once every decade or so,” and represents one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug discovery today which was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi is a natural process of gene silencing that occurs in organisms ranging from plants to mammals. By harnessing the natural biological process of RNAi occurring in our cells, the creation of a major new class of medicines, known as RNAi therapeutics, is on the horizon. Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), the molecules that mediate RNAi and comprise Alnylam’s RNAi therapeutic platform, target the cause of diseases by potently silencing specific mRNAs, thereby preventing disease-causing proteins from being made. RNAi therapeutics have the potential to treat disease and help patients in a fundamentally new way.
About Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. The company is applying its therapeutic expertise in RNAi to address significant medical needs, many of which cannot effectively be addressed with small molecules or antibodies, the current major classes of drugs. Alnylam is leading the translation of RNAi as a new class of innovative medicines with peer-reviewed research efforts published in the world’s top scientific journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, and Cell. The company is leveraging these capabilities to build a broad pipeline of RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of a wide range of disease areas, including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), liver cancers, TTR-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR), hypercholesterolemia, and Huntington’s disease. In addition, Alnylam formed Alnylam Biotherapeutics, a division of the company focused on the development of RNAi technologies for application in manufacturing processes for biotherapeutic products, including recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies. The company’s leadership position in fundamental patents, technology, and know-how relating to RNAi has enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Medtronic, Novartis, Biogen Idec, Roche, Takeda, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and Cubist. Alnylam and Isis are joint owners of Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of microRNA-based therapeutics. Founded in 2002, Alnylam maintains headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.alnylam.com.
Alnylam Forward-Looking Statement
Various statements in this release concerning Alnylam’s future expectations, plans and prospects constitute forward-looking statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including Alnylam’s ability to discover and develop novel drug candidates, , successfully demonstrate the efficacy and safety of its drug candidates in human clinical trials and establish and maintain strategic business alliances and new business initiatives, as well as those risks more fully discussed in the “Risk Factors” section of its most recent quarterly report on Form 10-Q on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent Alnylam’s views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Alnylam does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.
Source: Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
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