Arrowhead scores bull's-eye with $45M private offering

RNAi biotech Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals ($ARWR) has sold off more than 7.6 million shares at just under $6 a pop, raising $45 million toward its R&D projects--including its work with Novartis’ ($NVS) assets.

The Californian biotech, formerly known as Arrowhead Research, said it had raised the cash through a series of investors, including that perennial life sciences Orbimed, as well as RA Capital Management, Perceptive Advisors, RTW Investments and others.

The company is working on developing gene silencing techniques, with a number of its RNAi assets bought from Novartis in a $35 million deal that saw it grab the rights to three preclinical candidates.

In 2011, it bought out Roche’s ($RHHBY) RNAi platform as this tech moved out of Big Pharma and into smaller biotech.

Arrowhead has for some time been locked in a rivalry with fellow RNAi specialist Alnylam ($ALNY) to get their RNAi meds onto the market first.

It’s been a long time coming given that gene silencing as a concept garnered the Nobel prize a decade ago, but has lingered on the fringe of commercialization ever since then.

But there is much promise here as analysts have forecast that RNA-based therapies could generate $1.2 billion in revenue by the decade’s end.

Last year, Arrowhead also posted positive data for its hepatitis B virus candidate and is also currently working on treating the genetic disease alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency.

- check out the release

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Arrowhead acquires Novartis' RNAi assets, but Alnylam CEO calls them 'unuseful.' Who's right?