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Novartis is shutting down its remaining RNAi drug discovery operations, a decision prompted by the ongoing difficulty in developing effective methods of formulating and delivering RNAi-based therapeutics. The company entered the field in 2005 through a broad partnership with Alnylam but in 2010 turned down an option to extend that collaboration. That pact gave Novartis the rights to 31 drug targets against which it could develop RNAi therapeutics. About 26 people in Cambridge, Mass., were focused on RNAi. Although the exit will cost at least some jobs, a Novartis spokesperson notes that a small team will be maintained and partnerships will be considered if technical issues are resolved.
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