Various small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics are being developed by Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Vir Biotechnology, for the treatment of infectious diseases including COVID-2019 infections and infections caused by other coronaviruses. Alnylam’s Enhanced Stabilization Chemistry (ESC)-GalNAc conjugate technology will be used to develop the candidates. Early research development is underway in the US.
In March 2020, Vir Biotechnology and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals expanded their existing collaboration to include the development and commercialisation of RNAi therapeutics targeting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infections and other coronaviruses as well. Under the agreement, the companies will utilise Alnylam’s advances in lung delivery of novel conjugates of siRNA. Vir Biotechnology will lead all development and commercialization of any selected development candidates. At clinical proof of concept, Alnylam will have an option to share equally in the profits and losses associated with the development and commercialisation of the coronavirus programme. Alternatively, Alnylam may elect to earn development and commercialisation milestones and royalties on net sales of products resulting from the collaboration in amounts agreed upon for the coronavirus programme. Earlier, in October 2017, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals had entered into an exclusive license agreement with Vir Biotechnology for development and commercialisation of RNAi therapeutics for infectious diseases. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will advance the development of Alnylam’s HBV programme, including ALN HBV02, and initiate a research collaboration for the development and advancement of up to four additional RNAi therapeutic programmes for the treatment of other infectious diseases. Alnylam is eligible to lead the development of a candidate, ALN HBV02, through to IND filing, and subsequently, Vir Biotechnology will be responsible for progressing the development of the candidate through a human proof-of-concept (POC) study; the developmental activities will be co-funded by both the companies. Following which, Vir Biotechnology is entitled to fund and conduct all development through completion of phase II studies. Alnylam retained the right to opt into a profit-sharing arrangement prior to initiation of phase III development. Vir Biotechnology is entitled to fund all research and developmental costs for the four additional infectious disease programmes, and Alnylam retained a product-by-product option on each programme to opt into a profit-sharing arrangement following human POC studies. Alnylam is also eligible to receive more than $1 billion in potential milestone payments related to the successful advancement of ALN HBV02 and other infectious disease programmes, as well as tiered royalties on products ultimately commercialised by Vir Biotechnology, provided Alnylam opts to decline its co-development and profit share option on a per-product basis.  
Key Development Milestones
As of March 2020, RNA interference therapeutics are in research stage for the treatment of infectious diseases including COVID-2019 infections and infections caused by other coronaviruses  .