Dicerna to pay Alnylam $15M plus stock to settle RNAi trade secrets suit

The companies are dismissing their claims against each other without admitting any wrongdoing. (rawpixel)

Dicerna and Alynylam, which sued each other over trade secrets relating to RNAi technology, are burying the hatchet just days ahead of their court date. The former will fork over $2 million and 938,208 shares up front, with another $13 million to follow over four years.

Dicerna's stock jumped 30% on the news but has since settled. Alnylam expects to pick up a total of $25 million in cash and stock from the settlement, it said in a statement. The deal resolves a lawsuit Alnylam filed in 2015, accusing Dicerna of misappropriating confidential information relating to the RNAi tech it picked up in its acquisition of Sirna Therapeutics from Merck in 2014. Dicerna did this by "hiring away six scientists who were among dozens terminated by Sirna Therapeutics" soon after Alnylam bought it, Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News reported at the time.

In 2017, Dicerna countersued, accusing Alnylam of a "calculated scheme" to take out a smaller competitor. Both lawsuits were scheduled to go to trial in a combined case on Monday, April 23, The Boston Globe reported.

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The companies are dismissing their claims against each other without admitting any wrongdoing, they said in separate statements.

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“With today’s announcement of a settlement with Alnylam, we are now able to focus the entirety of our resources on the advancement of our key clinical and discovery programs,” said Dicerna CEO Douglas Fambrough, Ph.D., in the statement.

This isn't Alnylam's only IP hiccup—last July, Silence Therapeutics took the biotech to court, asking the United Kingdom High Courts of Justice to determine whether it is entitled to supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) on Alnylam’s patisiran, fitusiran, givosiran and inclisiran, its most advanced assets. Since then, Alnylam has gotten patisiran past the FDA and the treatment's U.S. launch is on the horizon.