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Regeneron Collaborates With Alnylam to Develop NASH Treatment

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Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (REGN - Free Report) and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (ALNY - Free Report) announced a discovery collaboration for identification of RNAi therapeutics for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (“NASH”), chronic liver disease, and other related diseases.

The collaboration is based on a new report published by Regeneron on a variant in the HSD17B13 gene, which is associated with reduced risk of chronic liver diseases in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Regeneron’s shares have lost 9.2% in the past year compared with the industry’s loss of 3.9%. In contrast, Alnylam’s shares have surged 174.7% in the same time frame.

Per the terms of the collaboration, both the companies will share the cost of development and commercialization of any discovered therapeutic product candidates equally. While Regeneron will identify HSD17B13 target, Alynylam will use its RNAi therapeutics platform to find eligible compounds directed to that target.

The collaboration is beneficial for both the companies. Regeneron will be able to leverage Alnylam’s RNAi therapeutics platform for new treatment approaches, while Alnylam, which has no approved products, will benefit from Regeneron’s expertise in developing innovative medicines.

Per the press release, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis are leading causes of diseases and death in the United States. NASH is a more severe type of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a precursor to cirrhosis. Nearly 3% to 12% of adults are suffering from NASH. Its occurrence is increasing due to rising rates of obesity.

Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks

Regeneron currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Some other top-ranked stocks in the health care sector include Horizon Pharma Public Limited Company (HZNP - Free Report) and Ligand Pharmaceuticals Incorporated (LGND - Free Report) . Both the stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Horizon Pharma’s earnings estimates increased 10% to $1.43 for 2018 and 15% to $1.77 for 2019 over the last 30 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 68.92%.

Ligand’s earnings per share estimates increased 11% to $4.20 for 2018 and 12% to $5.32 for 2019 over the last 30 days. The company delivered a positive earnings surprise in three of the four trailing quarters with an average beat of 24.88%. The company’s shares have increased 23% so far this year.

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