Arrowhead Acquires Novartis’ RNAi Assets

Arrowhead Research Corporation, a biopharmaceutical company developing RNAi therapeutics, has agreed to acquire Novartis’ entire RNAi research and development portfolio and associated assets. Under  the agreement, Arrowhead previously made a payment to Novartis of $7 million in cash and will provide an additional payment of $3 million in cash and $25 million in Arrowhead common stock within 30 days. Novartis is also eligible to receive milestones and single digit royalties on sales of future products in connection with the agreement.

The acquisition includes assignment of certain patents and patent applications owned or controlled by Novartis related to RNAi therapeutics, an exclusive license in the RNAi field to other patents and patent applications owned or controlled by Novartis, assignment of a third-party license, three pre-clinical RNAi candidates, and other related assets. Key aspects of the acquisition include the following:

  • Multiple patent families covering RNAi-trigger design rules and modifications that fall outside of key patents controlled by competitors;
  • Novel intracellular targeting ligands that enhance the activity of RNAi-triggers by targeting the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) more effectively and improving stability once RISC is loaded;
  • An assignment of a Novartis’ license from Alnylam Pharmaceuticals granting Arrowhead access to Alnylam’s intellectual property, excluding delivery, for 30 gene targets chosen by Novartis;
  • A pipeline of three candidates initiated by Novartis and for which Novartis has developed varying amounts of preclinical data.

Source: Arrowhead Research

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