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Alnylam acquires a Merck unit

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Cambridge company specializing in RNA interference therapies designed to silence genes that cause diseases, said it has acquired a Merck subsidiary called Sirna Therapeutics, which also works on RNA technologies, for $175 million.

The acquisition of Merck’s RNAi intellectual property will advance Alnylam’s plans to develop a new class of medicines, Alnylam said.

Under the agreement, Alnylam will make an upfront payment of $25 million in cash and $150 million in common stock to Merck.


Merck is also eligible to receive up to $105 million in developmental and sales milestone payments per product, as well as single-digit royalties, associated with the progress of certain pre-clinical candidates discovered by Merck.

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Merck is also eligible to receive up to $10 million in milestone payments and single-digit royalties on Alnylam products covered by Sirna Therapeutics’ patent estate.

Chris Reidy

Chris Reidy can be reached at