If Blackstone succeeds in life sciences, the company could not only lift its own fortunes but also provide a road map for other big investors in the increasingly prominent field.
There’s no better illustration of the strategy than Blackstone’s nearly $2 billion investment in Alnylam Pharmaceuticals (ALNY) around the time of the Covid outbreak last year. The Cambridge, Mass., company develops RNA-based drugs much like Moderna (MRNA) and Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) in their innovative Covid-19 vaccines. However, Alnylam uses it to treat other diseases.
Alnylam was already working with Novartis (NVS) to develop cholesterol-fighting drug inclisiran, but it needed more money to develop other RNA treatments, and the stock and bond markets were in a shambles.
In April, Blackstone, already the landlord of Alnylam’s lab, stepped in with $1 billion for half of the inclisiran sales royalties. It bought $100 million of Alnylam shares, invested $150 million in its cardiometabolic-disease therapies, one of which showed positive Phase-3 clinical trial results last month, and made a $750 million loan. In short, Blackstone’s approach is all-encompassing, as landlord, scientific partner, investor, advisor, and lender.