Alnylam, Blackstone Sign $2-Bn Financing Pact for RNAi TherapiesBy
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical company focused on RNA interference (RNAi) therapeutics, and Blackstone Life Sciences, a private investment firm, have formed a collaboration under which Blackstone will provide up to $2 billion to support Alnylam’s advancement of RNAi medicines.
The deal is anchored by Blackstone’s purchase of 50% of the royalties owed to Alnylam on global sales of inclisiran, an investigational RNAi therapeutic for treating hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol) currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration. Inclisiran, which was originally developed by Alnylam, was subsequently added to the Novartis pipeline via its $9.7-billion acquisition of The Medicines Company in a deal that was completed earlier this year (January 2020). Novartis has global rights to develop, manufacture and commercialize inclisiran under a license and collaboration agreement with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. Inclisiran is a twice-a-year, subcutaneously injected RNAi therapeutic that was shown in a Phase III program to reduce low-density lipoprotein, according to information from Alnylam.
The financing collaboration, led by Blackstone Life Sciences and GSO Capital Partners (GSO), Blackstone’s credit platform, is expected to enable a self-sustainable financial profile for Alnylam without the need for future equity financing. The transaction includes the inclisiran royalty monetization, corporate debt, purchase of Alnylam equity, and funding for certain R&D activities related to the clinical advancement of two Alnylam investigational RNAi therapeutic programs in cardiovascular disease. Specifically, the transaction is comprised of:
- $1 billion in committed payments, led by Blackstone Life Sciences, to acquire 50% of Alnylam’s royalties and commercial milestones for inclisiran;
- Up to $750 million in a first-lien senior secured term loan led by GSO;
- Up to $150 million from Blackstone Life Sciences for development of Alnylam’s cardiometabolic programs, vutrisiran and ALN-AGT, to be established based upon a non-binding letter of intent); and
- A $100-million purchase of Alnylam common stock.
Alnylam, an existing tenant of the Blackstone Real Estate company, BioMed Realty, is also in discussions with BioMed to expand its footprint in Cambridge, Massachusetts.