Novartis teams with US biotech Alnylam on pandemic flu drug

Share this article:
Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis is teaming up with US biotech Alnylam to produce a new type of treatment for pandemic flu, including avian flu, The Financial Times reported today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The treatment, which is not likely to progress past clinical trials before 1-2 years, according Novartis, will be based on a naturally occurring gene silencing mechanism, called RNA interface (RNAi). Mark Fishman, president of the Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research told The Financial Times “An RNAi therapeutic could be an innovative modality, crippling the virus through incapacitating several genes. In addition, such drugs might be adapted to new strains as they emerge.” Novartis in September backed the potentially revolutionary scientific approach by paying $56.8 million for a 20% stake in Alnylam, as part of a wide-ranging collaboration to develop treatments for a number of diseases. Roche’s anti-viral drug Tamiflu is considered the most effective treatment for bird flu on the market. The drug does not prevent infection but reduces the risk of fatality if taken within a few days of the onset of symptoms. Other companies that produce flu vaccines are also developing vaccines to guard against bird flu. These include Sanofi-Aventis and Chiron, the US biotech company being acquired by Novartis.
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.


Patient access to pharmaceuticals is a tale of two worlds—affordability has improved for the majority, while the minority is hampered by cost, distribution and red tape. To provide marketers with a well-rounded perspective, MM&M presents this e-book chock full of key insights. Click here to access it.

More in Channel

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, September 15

Five things for pharma marketers to know: ...

Pharma has sought 76 meetings with FDA over biosimilars; Gilead licenses Sovaldi to India generic drugmakers; Pfizer and Ranbaxy Lipitor lawsuit dismissed.

Liraglutide, aiming for new indication, gets new name

Liraglutide, aiming for new indication, gets new name

Why Novo Nordisk is choosing not to leverage Victoza's brand equity as it seeks a weight-loss indication for liraglutide.

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, September 12

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, ...

An FDA panel voted in favor of liraglutide for weight loss; Allergan investors backing an attempted takeover of the firm crossed a critical threshold; and 100 million health wearables are ...