Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:DRNA) shares are shooting up over 30% faster than Jack’s magic bean sparking right into a giant beanstalk. Why the excitement? The RNAi inhibitor maker announced that it has resolved all litigation with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ALNY). The settlement allows Dicerna to advance all of its key and planned pipeline programs while maintaining a strong balance sheet.
“With today’s announcement of a settlement with Alnylam, we are now able to focus the entirety of our resources on the advancement of our key clinical and discovery programs,” said Douglas M. Fambrough, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Dicerna.
Under terms of the agreement, Alnylam will dismiss all claims of trade secret misappropriation and other related claims brought in the Massachusetts State Court against Dicerna. In return, Dicerna will dismiss all counterclaims associated with Alnylam’s trade secret misappropriation litigation, as well as all claims of anti-competitive practices brought by Dicerna against Alnylam in Massachusetts Federal Court. Dicerna will pay to Alnylam an upfront fee of $2.0 million, plus 983,208 shares of Dicerna common stock. Dicerna will also pay to Alnylam an additional $13.0 million over the next four years, the timing of which is dependent on revenue Dicerna receives pursuant to future GalXC™ technology-based partnerships. This settlement excludes any amounts received by Dicerna from its existing collaboration with Boehringer-Ingelheim.
With the strength of its intellectual property affirmed, Dicerna remains focused on its core research and development activities, including its ongoing Phase 1 trial of DCR-PHXC, its lead compound for the treatment of all forms of primary hyperoxaluria, as well as the expected advancement of multiple other GalXC-based programs, including DCR-HBVS for hepatitis B, into clinical development on schedule. The company continues to anticipate having a total of three GalXC product candidates in the clinic by early next year.
Dicerna continues to actively progress development activities for its three priority GalXC programs:
- DCR-PHXC, an investigational treatment for all forms of primary hyperoxaluria, is currently in Phase 1 clinical trials with proof-of-concept data expected in the second half of 2018.
- DCR-HBVS, an investigational treatment for chronic hepatitis B virus, is in pre-clinical development and the Company anticipates filing an investigational new drug (IND) application or clinical trial application (CTA) during the fourth quarter of 2018.
- An undisclosed rare disease program, which the Company intends to advance into clinical trials in conjunction with a partner, with an anticipated IND or CTA filing in the second half of 2018.
Cautious optimism circles this biotech player, as TipRanks analytics exhibit DRNA as a Buy. Out of 7 analysts polled in the last 3 months, 4 are bullish on Dicerna stock, while 3 remain sidelined. With a return potential of nearly 6%, the stock’s consensus target price stands at $14.20.