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Alnylam (ALNY) to Continue Phase III Study on Patisiran

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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALNY - Free Report) announced that the Data Monitoring Committee (DMC) has recommended the continuation of the phase III APOLLO study on patisiran without any modification. However, the committee also stated that it will periodically meet to monitor the overall safety of the candidate through the course of the study.

Note that patisiran, an experimental RNAi therapeutics targeting transthyretin (TTR), is being evaluated for the treatment of hereditary TTR-mediated amyloidosis (hATTR) with polyneuropathy (hATTR-PN), also known as familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP).

Top-line data from the study are expected in mid 2017.

The committee met at Alnylam’s request following its decision to discontinue the development of revusiran in the phase III ENDEAVOUR study due to an imbalance in mortality in patients dosed with the candidate, compared to placebo. Revusiran was being evaluated for the treatment of patients with hATTR with cardiomyopathy (hATTR-CM), also known as familial amyloidotic cardiomyopathy (FAC).

We remind investors that Alnylam has a worldwide collaboration agreement with Sanofi (SNY - Free Report) for the development and commercialization of RNAi therapeutics - patisiran and revusiran.

Investors should note that hATTR represents high unmet need due to the lack of treatment options, with approximately 10,000 people affected with FAP and at least 40,000 people suffering from FAC in the world.

Meanwhile, given that Alnylam has no approved product in its portfolio, successful development of patisiran would allow the company to launch its first product.

The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Stocks to Consider

A couple of better-ranked stocks in the health care sector are Incyte Corporation (INCY - Free Report) and Geron Corporation . Both the stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Incyte’s earnings estimates for 2016 and 2017 were up a respective 29.5% and 11.5% over the last 60 days. The company has beaten earnings estimates thrice in the last four quarters with an average surprise of 335.16%.

Geron has delivered a positive earnings surprise in each of four trailing quarters, bringing the average beat to 20.78%.

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