Alnylam and Ascletis collaborate to develop ALN-VSP for liver cancers in China

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Ascletis Pharmaceuticals have entered into a partnership to develop a systemically delivered RNAi therapeutic, ALN-VSP, for the treatment of liver cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Under the agreement, Ascletis gained an exclusive license from Alnylam to develop and commercialise ALN-VSP in China including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, while Alnylam retains all rights in the rest of the world, and is eligible to obtain milestones and royalties based on product sales.

Ascletis will advance ALN-VSP into a Phase II study for the treatment of HCC. Alnylam may use the data generated in China by Ascletis for development of ALN-VSP in the rest of the world for which Ascletis may potentially receive sublicense payments. Futher financial details were not disclosed.

Alnylam senior vice president and chief business officer Laurence Reid said Ascletis has the appropriate expertise in place to advance ALN-VSP through that region’s clinical and regulatory system.

“With this collaboration, we are able to develop ALN-VSP globally through the product’s advancement in a region where HCC is a particular challenge,” Reid added.

ALN-VSP has completed a Phase I study in patients with advanced malignancy with liver involvement and patients that achieved stable disease or better have been enrolled into an extension study.