Alnylam bets $200M on its commercial future with new plant

Alnylam CEO John Maraganore

RNAi biotech Alnylam Pharmaceuticals ($ALNY) is planning to spend $200 million on a manufacturing plant in a bet that its pipeline therapies will find their way to market in the coming years.

The Cambridge, MA-based company is planning to break ground in April on a 12-acre site in Norton, according to The Boston Globe, blueprinting a facility that could employ 220 people at full scale. Alnylam expects to open the plant by 2018, CEO John Maraganore told the Globe, in time to produce what could be the company's first approved products.

Alnylam's lead drug is patisiran, a treatment for transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis, or ATTR, in patients with familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP), a rare genetic defect that can lead to deadly protein buildups that damage nerve tissue. The therapy, partnered with Sanofi's ($SNY) Genzyme, is in the midst of Phase III study and will be ready for regulatory submissions next year if it succeeds, the company said.

The company is expecting a transformational year in 2016, with 10 planned data readouts, two Phase III trials for the hemophilia treatment fitusiran and three preclinical programs moving into human studies.

Alnylam is pushing toward fulfilling its long-stated goal of having three marketed products and 10 clinical-stage candidates by 2020, and the company's big bet on commercial manufacturing is a step in that direction, Maraganore said.

"This will be our facility for potentially dozens of medicines," he told the Globe. "We're in execution mode now as a company. To be able to reach our goal of being a multi-product company by 2020, we have to be able to manufacture these important medicines."

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