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Mobile, Ala. (January 4, 2005)
Contact: Paul Taylor
USA College of Medicine, (251) 461-1509

Alnylam Media Contact: Kathryn Morris
KMorris PR, (854) 635-9828

USA College of Medicine Research Published In Leading Biomedical Journal
Licensing Agreement Announced With Novel Therapeutics Company

MOBILE – Pulmonary research conducted at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine was featured in this week's online version of Nature Medicine, a leading biomedical journal devoted to publishing the latest and most exciting advances in biomedical research.

Dr. Barick
 
 

The article highlights the work of Dr. Sailen Barik, professor of biochemistry at the USA College of Medicine, who has shown promising laboratory results using intranasal administration of compounds that inhibit infection of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and other pathogenic respiratory viruses such as the Para influenza Virus.

RSV is the most common respiratory virus that infects infants and young children. In most infants, the virus causes symptoms resembling those of the common cold. In infants born prematurely or who suffer from chronic lung disease, RSV infection can be life-threatening. RSV is highly contagious, resulting in more than 125,000 hospitalizations each year and 2,500 deaths annually. Para influenza virus is also a major pathogen, second only to RSV in pediatric respiratory infections.

Although the research is preliminary and requires further testing before entering the clinical setting, its scientific merit was recognized by the leading RNA interference therapeutics company, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALNY) based in Cambridge, Mass. Earlier this week, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc., announced a formal licensing agreement with USA relating to Dr. Barik's research and the intellectual property relating to RNAi compositions and methods to treat viral infections of the respiratory system.

"Our published results showing the first-ever in vivo demonstration of RSV inhibition through intranasal RNAi agents clearly highlight the power of the natural process of RNAi," said Sailen Barik, Ph.D. "We are excited to be working with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, the leading RNAi therapeutics company, as we believe they are best able to rapidly advance our scientific breakthrough to positively impact the large RSV patient population worldwide."

"We are excited to initiate this new program in RSV disease as it further advances our leadership in the development of Direct RNAi(TM) therapeutics for important diseases with unmet medical needs," said John Maraganore, president and chief executive officer of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. "We plan to move forward aggressively to develop a a novel treatment for RSV infection, present additional in vivo data at upcoming scientific meetings and initiate clinical trials in the first half of 2006."

Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company seeking to develop and commercialize novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. Growing from its foundation as the world's first company focused on RNAi therapeutics, the company's leadership in the field of RNAi is supported by its preeminent founders and advisors and its strengths in fundamental patents, technology, and know-how that underlie the commercialization of RNAi therapeutics. Alnylam is developing a pipeline of RNAi products using Direct RNAi(TM) to treat ocular, central nervous system, and respiratory diseases and Systemic RNAi(TM) to treat a broad range of diseases, including oncologic, metabolic, and autoimmune diseases. The company's global headquarters are in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For additional information, please visit http://www.alnylam.com.

Nature Medicine is a biomedical research journal devoted to publishing the latest and most exciting advances in biomedical research for scientists and physicians, with an emphasis on clarity of presentation. Articles cover fields such as cancer biology, cardiovascular research, gene therapy, immunology, vaccine development, and neuroscience, aiming to keep Ph.D. and M.D. readers informed of a wide range of biomedical research findings. Original research articles published in Nature Medicine range from basic findings that have clear implications for disease pathogenesis and therapy to the earliest phases of human investigation, and are submitted from research groups at universities, independent research institutions, and biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries world-wide. As a cross-disciplinary journal at the heart of the international biomedical research community, Nature Medicine publishes the most relevant original research articles, news, and commentary that form the foundations of tomorrow's medicine.

Dr. Barik's research will be published in print form in this month's Nature Medicine, due out in several weeks. The 2003 impact factor for Nature Medicine is 30.550, according to the ISI Journal Citation Reports. This places Nature Medicine as the top primary research journal in Cell Biology and in Medicine (Research and Experimental).

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Forward-Looking Statements

Various statements in this release concerning our future expectations, plans, prospects and future operating results 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 risks related to: our approach to discover and develop novel drugs, which is unproven and may never lead to marketable products; our ability to obtain additional funding to support our business activities; our dependence on third parties for development, manufacture, marketing, sales and distribution of our products; the successful development of products, all of which are in early stages of development; obtaining regulatory approval for products; competition from others using technology similar to ours and others developing products for similar uses; obtaining, maintaining and protecting intellectual property utilized by our products; and our short operating history; as well as those risks more fully discussed in the "Certain Factors That May Affect Future Results" section of our most recent Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, any forward-looking statements represent our views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any subsequent date. We do not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

 
 
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Date last changed: January 7, 2005 2:04 PM
http://www.southalabama.edu/healthsystem/pressreleases/2005pr/010405.html