Twin blows spur a crisis of confidence in RNAi

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In the wake of Roche's stunning decision to write off its $500 million investment in RNAi work, some of the analysts who cover companies in the field appear to be losing confidence in what once was widely viewed as one of the most compelling new development categories since antibodies came along.

"The momentum now seems to be heading a bit against RNAi," Alan Carr, an analyst at Needham & Company, says to Nature. Case in point: Deal-making is drying up. "There was a wave of interest earlier on and it's just not there now."

Josh Schimmer, an analyst at Leerink Swann, even suggests that while RNAi pioneer Alnylam has a "very interesting drug at this point...it's premature to say they have a very promising platform."

Alnylam was forced to chop some 50 workers recently after Novartis ($NVS) declined to extend its ambitious partnership in the field. Alnylam CEO John Maraganore, though, is as bullish about the future as he's ever been. "We're feeling pretty damn good about where things are right now."

- here's the article from Nature

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