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Northeastern University Alnylam Pharmaceuticals on Lawsuits Case Study

Northeastern University Alnylam Pharmaceuticals on Lawsuits Case Study

Question Description

Student learning outcome(s) for thecourse include demonstrating an understanding of compliance standards required toformulate regulatory strategies to support effective life-cycle management. Intellectualproperty strategy is a critical area of product life-cycle management in healthcare, aswell as many other sectors of the global economy, but is often overlooked for a varietyof reasons. The Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Case Study describes a commercializationscenario in which Alnylam has filed a lawsuit against the co-owners of a patent pendingapplication. In addition, to addressing the validity of patent(s) pending, the caseillustrates the importance of the outcome of the aforementioned litigation on theCompany’s corporate strategy. As with the previous case write-up assignments thequestions for this Case Study write-up require you to explain critical aspects of the casefrom a situational perspective, as well as to develop replies to specific questionspresented by the case.


1. In 2-3 paragraphs please present a situational description of the case thataddresses: Who is Dr. John Maraganore? Who are the stakeholders involved inthe case and what are their roles? Why are they working (or not working)together collaboratively?

2. How do you balance the risks vs. rewards of Alnylam’s licensing strategy? Whatare its pros and cons? How should Alnylam sustain its IP and licensing strategy?Should Alnylam Pharmaceuticals convert its business model such that it becomesan intellectual property licensing company?

3. Are there specific aspects about RNA interference as a technology platform thatmake it easier or harder to develop and subsequently execute an intellectualproperty strategy to protect it?

4. Why are the co-owners of the Tuschl I patent arguing over the patent’sprosecution?

5. If Merck, through Sirna, has a license to Tuschl I, should it also need a licensefrom Alnylam?

6. At what point, if ever, should Alnylam negotiate with Merck for a license to thelatter’s intellectual property

5-7 pages in length, single ordouble-spaced in 12 pt font

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