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Roche partners with Alnylam on hypertension therapy in deal worth up to $2.8bn

Roche has entered into a new partnership with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to develop and commercialise a potential treatment for high blood pressure, with the deal worth up to $2.8bn.

The candidate, zilebesiran, is an investigational, subcutaneously administered RNAi therapeutic currently in phase 2 development to treat hypertension in populations with high-unmet needs.

Under the terms of the agreement, which provides Roche with exclusive commercialisation rights to the therapy outside of the US and joint commercialisation rights within the country, Alnylam will receive an upfront payment of $310m and is also eligible to receive certain milestone payments.

Hypertension, the leading cause of cardiovascular disease, affects more than 1.2 billion adults worldwide. While several therapies exist, a significant unmet need remains, especially for high-risk patients.

Zilebesiran works by preventing the production of angiotensinogen, a protein that plays a key role in raising blood pressure, in the liver.

In an early-stage study, zilebesiran was associated with dose-dependent reductions in serum angiotensinogen, achieving tonic blood pressure control with consistent and durable blood pressure reduction throughout a 24-hour period and sustained for up to six months.

“Based on the positive phase 1 data, zilebesiran could be a best-in-disease treatment and provide transformational benefit, especially for patients with hypertension at high cardiovascular risk,” Roche said in a statement.

The Swiss pharma added that the therapy also has the potential to improve adherence and compliance to treatment due to its possible bi-annual subcutaneous dosing regime.

Teresa Graham, chief executive officer of Roche Pharma, said: “We are excited to work together with Alnylam and leverage our strong research and development capabilities, our leadership in cardiovascular diagnostics and our global commercial footprint to further develop and provide this promising therapy with best-in-disease potential to patients.”

She added: “Together with a strong partner like Alnylam, we are looking forward to making a significant impact for patients living with hypertension at high cardiovascular risk and potentially other cardiovascular indications.”

Also commenting on the partnership, Alnylam’s chief executive officer, Yvonne Greenstreet, said: “With this collaboration, we now can develop zilebesiran in a more robust way, allowing us to have cardiovascular outcomes data in hand at launch to ensure results relevant not only for health authorities but also for access and clinical practice in order to ultimately reach as many patients as possible.”



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