Mallinckrodt, Silence Therapeutics partner to develop RNAi therapies for complement-mediated diseases

Mallinckrodt and Silence Therapeutics entered a collaboration to develop and commercialise RNAi drug targets designed to inhibit the complement cascade, a group of proteins known to contribute to the pathogenesis of many diseases, including autoimmune diseases, the companies reported Thursday. "We are very excited by the significant potential offered by Silence's RNAi technology," remarked Steven Romano, chief scientific officer of Mallinckrodt.  

As part of the deal, Mallinckrodt will acquire a 6.5% stake in Silence for $5 million by purchasing more than 5 million new ordinary shares at 79 pence per share, reflecting a 10% premium to the latter's 20-day average share price. Romano will also gain a non-executive director seat on Silence's board, with shares in the drugmaker surging up to 60% on the news.  

Under the agreed terms, the companies noted that Mallinckrodt will obtain an exclusive global licence to Silence's C33 complement asset, SLN500, with options to license up to two additional complement-targeted assets in the latter's preclinical complement-directed RNAi development programme. Silence will hold responsibility, including funding, for the development of SLN500 through preclinical and early-stage studies, after which point, Mallinckrodt will handle clinical development and global commercialisation.  

As part of the deal, Mallinckrodt will make an upfront payment of $20 million to Silence, with the latter also eligible to receive up to $10 million in research milestones for SLN500 and for each optioned asset. In addition, Silence stands to receive up to $100 million for SLN500 related to clinical and regulatory milestones, as well as commercial milestone payments of up to $563 million.  

The companies added that if Mallinckrodt decides to license one or two additional assets, Silence could receive up to $703 million in milestone payments per asset, as well as tiered, low double-digit to high-teen royalties on net sales.  

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