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Press Release

Alnylam Commemorates 10th Anniversary of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Awarded for the Discovery of RNAi

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals,Inc.
Posted on: 03 Oct 16

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ALNY), the leading RNAi therapeutics company, today commemorates the 10-year anniversary of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded to Andrew Fire, Ph.D. and Craig Mello, Ph.D. for their discovery of RNA interference (RNAi). Their research enabled an elevated understanding of gene function and advancement of one of the most promising new areas of drug development, RNAi therapeutics.

“The incredible achievements by Drs. Fire and Mello provided the scientific underpinning on which Alnylam was founded and crystallized our vision to create RNAi therapeutics, an entirely new class of innovative medicines,” said John Maraganore, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer at Alnylam. “It was our challenge and opportunity to turn their groundbreaking research into a reality for patients in need. We’re so pleased to celebrate the decade of scientific and clinical progress we’ve made since this prestigious award was granted as we now expect to transition RNAi therapeutics toward commercialization.”

In celebrating the extraordinary achievements of Andrew Fire and Craig Mello, Alnylam also recognizes the commitment and dedication of its employees in pioneering the translation of raw science to the discovery and development of a novel class of medicines based on RNAi. During an upcoming Scientific Advisory Board meeting, Dr. Mello will speak to Alnylam employees about his research and vision, as a way to acknowledge the progress that has been made in harnessing this revolution in biology into a promising new approach to treat human disease.

“RNAi represents one of the most exciting biological breakthroughs in the last decade,” said Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., Chairman of Alnylam’s Scientific Advisory Board, Scientific Founder, and Board of Directors member. “Thanks to the groundbreaking discovery of Drs. Fire and Mello and the remarkable work of Alnylam employees, the possibility of making RNAi therapeutics a reality for patients is now within reach.”

"Alnylam would also like to recognize this year’s winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, Yoshinori Ohsumi, for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy,” said Maraganore. “On behalf of myself and Alnylam, we congratulate Professor Ohsumi for his achievements.”

Alnylam is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Nobel Prize throughout the month of October by debuting an interactive content series, aimed at bringing to life the advancement of RNAi, from scientific possibility to the development of viable therapeutic options for patients. To learn more, please visit or follow the conversation on Twitter.

About RNAi
RNAi (RNA interference) is a revolution in biology, representing a breakthrough in understanding how genes are turned on and off in cells, and a completely new approach to drug discovery and development. Its discovery has been heralded as "a major scientific breakthrough that happens once every decade or so," and represents one of the most promising and rapidly advancing frontiers in biology and drug discovery today which was awarded the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. RNAi is a natural process of gene silencing that occurs in organisms ranging from plants to mammals. By harnessing the natural biological process of RNAi occurring in our cells, the creation of a major new class of medicines, known as RNAi therapeutics, is on the horizon. Small interfering RNA (siRNA), the molecules that mediate RNAi and comprise Alnylam's RNAi therapeutic platform, target the cause of diseases by potently silencing specific mRNAs, thereby preventing disease-causing proteins from being made. RNAi therapeutics have the potential to treat disease and help patients in a fundamentally new way.

About Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. The company is leading the translation of RNAi as a new class of innovative medicines. Alnylam's pipeline of investigational RNAi therapeutics is focused in 3 Strategic Therapeutic Areas (STArs): Genetic Medicines, with a broad pipeline of RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of rare diseases; Cardio-Metabolic Disease, with a pipeline of RNAi therapeutics toward genetically validated, liver-expressed disease targets for unmet needs in cardiovascular and metabolic diseases; and Hepatic Infectious Disease, with a pipeline of RNAi therapeutics that address the major global health challenges of hepatic infectious diseases. In early 2015, Alnylam launched its "Alnylam 2020" guidance for the advancement and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics as a whole new class of innovative medicines. Specifically, by the end of 2020, Alnylam expects to achieve a company profile with 3 marketed products, 10 RNAi therapeutic clinical programs - including 4 in late stages of development - across its 3 STArs. The company's demonstrated commitment to RNAi therapeutics has enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Ionis, Novartis, Roche, Takeda, Merck, Monsanto, The Medicines Company, and Sanofi Genzyme. In addition, Alnylam holds an equity position in Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a company focused on discovery, development, and commercialization of microRNA therapeutics. Alnylam scientists and collaborators have published their research on RNAi therapeutics in over 200 peer-reviewed papers, including many in the world's top scientific journals such as Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Biotechnology, Cell, New England Journal of Medicine, and The Lancet. Founded in 2002, Alnylam maintains headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information about Alnylam's pipeline of investigational RNAi therapeutics, please visit

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Last updated on: 03/10/2016

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