CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jul 02, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) --Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc . ALNY +1.46% , a leading RNAi therapeutics company, announced today the election of Amy W. Schulman to its Board of Directors. Ms. Schulman is the former Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Pfizer Inc., and served as the Business Unit Lead for Pfizer's Consumer Healthcare business. She currently serves on the faculty of Harvard Business School as a Senior Lecturer.
"Amy is a recognized leader in the development and growth of global pharmaceutical businesses, and she will bring this expertise to our Board as we continue to build Alnylam as a leading biotechnology company. As the former General Counsel at Pfizer, Amy also brings deep legal expertise to our Board," said John Maraganore, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Alnylam. "Given our robust clinical progress and our potential transition to a commercial company in the coming years, Amy's addition to our Board comes at an opportune time as we advance RNAi therapeutics to patients."
"I am excited to join the Board of Alnylam, a first-in-class innovation-based biotechnology company, and a pioneer in advancing an entirely new class of high impact medicines with RNAi therapeutics," said Ms. Schulman. "The tremendous progress Alnylam has made in its clinical efforts has yielded very encouraging results. I look forward to working with the outstanding team of management and directors in place today and contributing to the company's value creation strategy and execution."
Ms. Schulman originally joined Pfizer in 2008 as General Counsel and saw the company through its $68 billion acquisition of Wyeth. In 2010, in addition to her role as General Counsel, Ms. Schulman became President and General Manager of Pfizer's $2.1 billion global infant formula and nutrition business. Once that business was sold to Nestlé she assumed responsibility for the Consumer Healthcare business. Before joining Pfizer, she was a partner at DLA Piper, where she was a member of the Board and Executive Policy Committees, and built and led the international law firm's mass tort and class-action practice. Ms. Schulman's accomplishments have earned her recognition from leading publications and organizations. In 2013 Fortune magazine named her one of the "50 Most Powerful Women in Business." That same year, The American Lawyer named her one of the "Top 50 Innovators," and The National Law Journal named her one of "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America." The American Bar Association honored her with the Margaret Brent Women Lawyers of Achievement award in 2012. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Wesleyan University, Ms. Schulman earned her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1989. She serves on the Board of Directors of The Brookings Institution and Wesleyan University.
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.