Healthcare Industry News: RNAi therapeutics
News Release - June 13, 2011
Alnylam Appoints Akshay Vaishnaw as Chief Medical OfficerCAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(Healthcare Sales & Marketing Network)-- Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:ALNY ), a leading RNAi therapeutics company, today announced that it has promoted Akshay K. Vaishnaw, M.D., Ph.D., to the new position of Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Vaishnaw previously held the title of Senior Vice President, Clinical Research.
“We are delighted to promote Akshay to this new role. He has led the advancement of Alnylam’s pipeline and has aptly earned this promotion and new recognition,” said John Maraganore, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam. “Alnylam is leading the development of RNAi therapeutics as innovative medicines. With three programs in human clinical trials currently and a total of five expected by year’s end, Akshay’s leadership has been instrumental in the transformation of our business from a platform company to a product company.”
“Through the tremendous efforts of our scientists, partners, and collaborators, the field of RNAi therapeutics has seen important progress over the last year or so, including the demonstration of safety and tolerability in an expanding human experience, proof of RNAi mechanism in man, and encouraging evidence of clinical activity,” said Dr. Vaishnaw. “I am excited by this progress and very much look forward to the coming months where we expect to have additional clinical data from our RNAi therapeutics pipeline, including ALN-TTR for the treatment of transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis, ALN-PCS for the treatment of severe hypercholesterolemia, and ALN-RSV for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus. I am also fortunate to work with a broader team of colleagues at Alnylam who share a likeminded commitment and passion to advance RNAi therapeutics as a new class of innovative medicines.”
Dr. Vaishnaw joined Alnylam in 2006. He had previously been at Biogen Idec, where he was involved in many aspects of clinical research and business development and led the effort for the approval of alefacept (Amevive™) for psoriasis. Dr. Vaishnaw received his M.D. from the University of Wales College of Medicine, UK, and his Ph.D. from the University of London, UK, in Molecular Immunology. He is a Member of the Royal College of Physicians, UK, and received an Executive M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. In addition, Dr. Vaishnaw has published papers in leading scientific journals and authored a number of textbook chapters relating to autoimmune disease.
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 leading the translation of RNAi as a new class of innovative medicines with a core focus on RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of genetically defined diseases, including ALN-TTR for the treatment of transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis (ATTR), ALN-PCS for the treatment of severe hypercholesterolemia, and ALN-HPN for the treatment of refractory anemia. As part of its “Alnylam 5x15TM” strategy, the company expects to have five RNAi therapeutic products for genetically defined diseases in advanced stages of clinical development by the end of 2015. Alnylam has additional partner-based programs in clinical or development stages, including ALN-RSV01 for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, ALN-VSP for the treatment of liver cancers, and ALN-HTT for the treatment of Huntington’s disease. The company’s leadership position on RNAi therapeutics and intellectual property have enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Merck, Medtronic, Novartis, Biogen Idec, Roche, Takeda, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and Cubist. In addition, Alnylam and Isis co-founded Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a company focused on discovery, development, and commercialization of microRNA therapeutics; Regulus has formed partnerships with GlaxoSmithKline and sanofi-aventis. Alnylam has also formed Alnylam Biotherapeutics, a division of the company focused on the development of RNAi technologies for application in biologics manufacturing, including recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies. Alnylam scientists and collaborators have published their research on RNAi therapeutics in over 100 peer-reviewed papers, including many in the world’s top scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, and Cell. Founded in 2002, Alnylam maintains headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.alnylam.com.
Alnylam Forward-Looking Statements
Various statements in this release concerning Alnylam’s future expectations, plans and prospects, including without limitation, statements regarding Alnylam’s expectations with respect to its “Alnylam 5x15” product strategy and the potential for RNAi therapeutics, including ALN-VSP, ALN-TTR, ALN-PCS, and ALN-RSV, and its expectations regarding the generation and reporting of clinical data from such programs, 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, without limitation, Alnylam’s ability to discover and develop novel drug candidates, successfully demonstrate the efficacy and safety of its drug candidates, including ALN-VSP, ALN-TTR, ALN-PCS, and ALN-RSV, in human clinical trials and establish and maintain strategic business alliances, 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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