Last week, Alnylam
These RNAi licenses have considerable profit potential, since they can be doled out to multiple companies. Alnylam has granted licenses to around 20 companies that are developing RNAi therapeutics or selling reagents to scientists performing RNAi research.
Unfortunately, these licenses aren't yet bringing in big bucks. Alnylam didn't disclose the financial details of its latest deal, but last year, licenses brought in just $1.4 million (down from the 2006 amount, because Alnylam signed up fewer companies). For a company with $144 million in operating expenses last year, the licenses clearly aren't doing much to lower its cash burn.
At some point, Alnylam's intellectual property might be worth as much as PDL BioPharma's
Until then, the company will have to rely on its partners Roche, Novartis
I've been critical of the valuation that investors have put on RNAi technology. While I still think investors are taking a lot of risk, at least Alnylam has plenty of time to get the kinks worked out, even if the funding won't be coming from patent-licensing deals.