GSK taps Alnylam tech for faster vaccine production

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) is tapping Alnylam Pharmaceutical's RNA interference technology to speed production influenza and other vaccines cell culture systems. Financial details of the deal weren't disclosed, though the release notes that Alnylam will get funding and milestone payments as part of the deal, as well as royalties on any products that emerge from the partnership.

Alnylam's VaxiRNA technology uses small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to shut off genes that limit the growth viruses used for vaccine production, according to Xconomy. The company says the technology stems from previous work applying RNAi technology to improve biotherapeutic manufacturing, such as recombinant proteins and monoclonal antibodies.

"At Alnylam, we continue to pioneer innovative opportunities for our RNAi platform that could have transformative impact in medicine and the biopharmaceutical industry," said CEO John Maraganore in a statement. "This is exemplified with VaxiRNA, where siRNA technology is being used to increase virus titers in the production of vaccine products. Since production of vaccines can be limiting for the scale and speed of global immunization against many pathogens, including influenza, we believe that VaxiRNA can become an enabling technology for the broader vaccine industry."

- here's the GSK/Alnylam announcement
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