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Regeneron, Alnylam team up to find genetic therapies for liver disease

New York-based Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. will collaborate with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. to develop genetic therapies for the chronic liver disease called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and potentially other related diseases.

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is a condition in which fat builds up in the liver and causes inflammation and damage to liver cells.

The companies will use Massachusetts-based Alnylam's RNA interference therapeutics platform, a system that can target and silence a selected gene, and Regeneron's research work on a gene known as HSD17B13.

A recent study by Regeneron showed that the loss of function in HSD17B13 results in a reduced risk of chronic liver diseases.

The companies intend to enter into a separate, 50-50 collaboration to further research, co-develop and commercialize any therapeutic product candidates that emerge from these discovery efforts.

This is the second collaboration between Regeneron and Alnylam involving genetic exploration in 2018.