Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Calls of Note Part 3

Bear Stearns is commenting on Alnylam Pharma (NASDAQ:ALNY) after Merck (NYSE:MRK) announced its acquisition of Sirna Therapeutics (RNAI) at $13/share or $1.1bil, a 102% premium to RNAI's closing price on Oct. 30th, 2006 of $6.45. As Alnylam's closest comp, Sirna is advancing its lead candidate, Sirna-027, an siRNA drug targeting age-related macular degeneration (AMD), to phase 2 testing by year-end 2006.

Bear notes that Alnylam previously held two collaborations with MRK for RNAi drugs, which were consolidated in July, 2006. Under the current provisions of the collaboration, ALNY will receive R&D reimbursement from MRK earlier than under the prior agreement, and will have co-promote options for three out of nine Merck siRNA programs.

Firm believes the acquisition demonstrates the tremendous interest in RNAi therapeutics among major pharmaceutical companies, and remind investors that Alnylam has achieved collaborations with Novartis, Medtronic, Biogen Idec, and Merck, among others.

In firm's view, Alnylam's substantial IP position around siRNA drugs, and its demonstration of pioneering work for systemic application of its siRNA drug candidates now make it the leading RNAi company, and sole publicly traded pure play in the RNAi field.

Notablecalls: ALNY closed at $16.60 but following the RNAI news it traded close to $21 in after mkt. I think the $21-$22 level will be the maximum ALNY will reach in the n-t. Anything above that should have traders looking for cracks in buy interest.

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