INEX and Alnylam Announce Allowance of New U.S. Patent Covering Delivery of RNAi Therapeutics



    - New Patent Broadly Covers Delivery of RNAi Therapeutics with Cationic
    Liposomes -

    VANCOUVER, BC and CAMBRIDGE, MA, March 7 /CNW/ - Inex Pharmaceuticals
Corporation (TSX: IEX) and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:   ALNY)
announced today that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has
allowed claims in a patent application that covers nucleic acid-lipid
compositions, including cationic liposomes, a family of specialized lipid
molecules. Cationic liposomes enable the delivery of oligonucleotides,
including small interfering RNAs (siRNAs), the molecules that mediate RNAi.
The USPTO issued a "Notice of Allowance" for patent application 09/431,594,
which is derived from the "Wheeler" patent series and includes a number of
patents licensed exclusively to INEX through agreements with the University of
British Columbia, and which Inex has exclusively licensed to Alnylam for RNAi
therapeutics. Following a "Notice of Allowance," the companies would expect
final issuance of the patent within six months.
    Cationic liposomes have been used as formulations to achieve systemic
delivery of RNAi therapeutics in animal models including non-human primates
(Zimmermann et al. (2006) Nature 441, 111-114). The newly allowed Wheeler
patent covers cationic liposome compositions that contain oligonucleotides,
including double-stranded RNAs such as siRNAs. In addition to the newly
allowed patent, INEX and Alnylam have exclusive access to additional issued
patents for delivery of oligonucleotides with cationic liposomes, including
certain issued patents in the Wheeler patent series (U.S. Patent Nos.
5,976,567 and 6,815,432) and "Semple" patent series (U.S. Patent No.
6,858,225).
    "Our broad and significant collaboration with Alnylam formed just this
past January unites INEX's leadership in liposomal delivery technology with
Alnylam's leadership in RNAi therapeutics," said Timothy M. Ruane, President
and Chief Executive Officer of INEX. "The strength of INEX's intellectual
property was an important strategic component for this collaboration, and
we're gratified that the USPTO continues to recognize the Wheeler patent
series for delivery of oligonucleotide therapeutics, including double-stranded
RNAs such as siRNAs."
    "In a number of published reports from Alnylam and several other groups,
systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics has advanced significantly over the
last few years with the use of liposome technology. Accordingly, we have
focused on extending our leading intellectual property position in RNAi
therapeutics by accessing needed patents covering certain delivery
formulations," said Robert Millman, Ph.D., Chief Intellectual Property Counsel
for Alnylam. "Given both the newly allowed claims and previously issued
patents, we believe that the Wheeler and Semple patent series represent the
broadest intellectual property estate covering lipid-based delivery
technologies for RNAi therapeutics."

    About RNA Interference (RNAi)
    RNA interference, or RNAi, is a naturally occurring mechanism within
cells for selectively silencing and regulating specific genes. The discovery
of RNAi has been widely acknowledged as a major breakthrough in biology, and
the technology was recognized for its potential broad impact in medicine with
the award of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Since many
diseases are caused by the inappropriate activity of specific genes, the
ability to silence genes selectively through RNAi could provide a new way to
treat a wide range of human diseases. RNAi is induced by small,
double-stranded RNA molecules. One method to activate RNAi is with chemically
synthesized small interfering RNAs, or siRNAs, which are double-stranded RNAs
that are targeted to a specific disease-associated gene. The siRNA molecules
are used by the natural RNAi machinery in cells to cause targeted gene
silencing.

    About INEX
    INEX is a Canadian biopharmaceutical company developing and
commercializing proprietary drugs and drug delivery systems to improve the
treatment of cancer. Further information about INEX and this news release can
be found at www.inexpharm.com.

    About Alnylam
    Alnylam is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics
based on RNA interference, or RNAi. The company is applying its therapeutic
expertise in RNAi to address significant medical needs, many of which cannot
effectively be addressed with small molecules or antibodies, the current major
classes of drugs. Alnylam is building a pipeline of RNAi therapeutics; its
lead program is in Phase I human clinical trials for the treatment of
respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection, which is the leading cause of
hospitalization in infants in the U.S. The company's leadership position in
fundamental patents, technology, and know-how relating to RNAi has enabled it
to form major alliances with leading companies including Merck, Medtronic,
Novartis, and Biogen Idec. The company, founded in 2002, maintains global
headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and has an additional operating unit
in Kulmbach, Germany. For more information, visit www.alnylam.com.

    INEX Forward-Looking Statements
    There are forward-looking statements by INEX contained herein that are
not based on historical fact, including without limitation statements
containing the words "believes," "may," "plans," "will," "estimate,"
"continue," "anticipates," "intends," "expects," and similar expressions. Such
forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and
other factors that may cause the actual results, events or developments to be
materially different from any future results, events or developments expressed
or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among
others, INEX's stage of development, lack of product revenues, additional
capital requirements, risks associated with the completion of clinical trials
and obtaining regulatory approval to market INEX's products, the ability to
protect its intellectual property and dependence on collaborative partners.
These factors should be considered carefully and readers are cautioned not to
place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. INEX disclaims any
obligation to update any such factors or to publicly announce the result of
any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements contained herein to
reflect future results, events or developments.

    Alnylam Forward-Looking Statements
    Various statements in this release concerning Alnylam's future
expectations, plans, and prospects, including with respect to the development
and systemic delivery of RNAi therapeutics, the importance of liposomal and/or
lipid nanoparticle formulations for systemic delivery and the strength of
Alnylam's intellectual property position, constitute forward-looking
statements for the purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private
Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially
from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of
various important factors, including risks related to: Alnylam's approach to
discover and develop novel drugs, which is unproven and may never lead to
marketable products; Alnylam's ability to fund and the results of further
pre-clinical and clinical trials; obtaining, maintaining and protecting
intellectual property utilized by Alnylam's products; Alnylam's ability to
enforce its patents against infringers and to defend its patent portfolio
against challenges from third parties; Alnylam's ability to obtain additional
funding to support its business activities; Alnylam's dependence on third
parties for development, manufacture, marketing, sales, and distribution of
products; the successful development of Alnylam's product candidates, all of
which are in early stages of development; obtaining regulatory approval for
products; competition from others using technology similar to Alnylam's and
others developing products for similar uses; Alnylam's dependence on
collaborators; and its short operating history; as well as those risks more
fully discussed in the "Risk Factors" section of Alnylam's most recent report
on Form 10-Q on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition,
any forward-looking statements represent Alnylam's views only as of today and
should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date.
Alnylam does not assume any obligation to update any forward-looking
statements.




For further information:

For further information: Cynthia Clayton (Investors), Alnylam
Pharmaceuticals, Inc., (617) 551-8207; Ian Mortimer (Investors), Inex
Pharmaceuticals Corporation, (604) 419-3200; Kathryn Morris (Media),
KMorrisPR, (845) 635-9828; Karen Cook Boas (Media), James Hoggan and
Associates, (604) 739-7500

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