Investors wondering what Blackstone (BX) would do with the gigantic new life sciences fund it was launching got a big piece of the picture Monday. The private-equity firm committed $2 billion to Alnylam (ALNY 2.58%) in return for a slate of commitments that include rights to royalties from Novartis (NVS 0.92%) for sales of inclisiran, a gene-silencing drug widely expected to earn approval soon.
In January, Blackstone raised a whopping $3.4 billion for its life science fund, which has joined forces with the private equity firm's credit platform to offer Alnylam $1 billion for half of the royalties the biotech company is expected to receive from Novartis for inclisiran. Sales of inclisiran could reach $1.7 billion annually in 2024 if the FDA approves it to lower cholesterol for patients who aren't responding well enough to previously available therapies.
In addition, Blackrock will acquire $100 million of Alnylam stock, offer the biotech a secured loan of up to $750 million, and will invest up to $150 million into the development of two more experimental gene-silencing treatments: vutisiran and ALN-AGT.
No new share offerings
Alnylam probably won't need to lean on the secured loan from Blackstone, but shareholders will be glad to know there's little chance the biotech will need to visit the equity tap again. Inclisiran hasn't been approved by the FDA yet, but the company finished 2019 with $1.55 billion in cash on its balance sheet and two marketed products on pharmacy shelves.