Monsanto Company and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Inc. announced they have formed a strategic alliance to advance biological technologies in the field of agriculture. The new alliance brings Alnylam’s broad RNAi-based intellectual property (IP) and proprietary technologies to Monsanto’s new BioDirect technology, which aims to deliver innovative biological solutions for farmers.

Under the terms of the agreement, Monsanto receives worldwide, exclusive rights to use Alnylam’s platform technology and IP in the field of agriculture, including the ability to grant sublicenses. Monsanto will pay Alnylam $29.2 million in upfront payments. In addition, Alnylam is eligible to receive milestone payments and additional funding for collaborative research efforts. Further, Alnylam is eligible to receive royalty payments on products utilizing Alnylam technology and IP. Moreover, Monsanto becomes Alnylam’s strategic partner in agriculture for a 10-year period.

“We are very pleased to partner with Alnylam, a leading technology company with unparalleled intellectual property and a technology platform that will support our work in agricultural biologicals, introduced earlier this year with BioDirect technology,” said Tom Adams, vice president of chemistry technology at Monsanto. “We believe biological products have great promise in agriculture and we are excited to be collaborating with Alnylam in this area.”

“There could be no stronger partner for these applications, as Monsanto has a deep commitment to innovation and scientific excellence, and to the advancement of technologies to improve agriculture,” said Rachel Meyers, Ph.D., vice president, research and RNAi lead development at Alnylam. “This new alliance furthers our vision for RNAi technologies across a broad range of applications and is representative of our passion to pioneer these new frontiers. While we remain focused on the advancement of RNAi therapeutics as a new class of innovative medicines – and, specifically our ‘Alnylam 5x15’ product strategy – this collaboration with Monsanto enables broader uses of Alnylam intellectual property and technologies for additional value creation.”