PARSIPPANY, N.J. (AP) — Drugmaker Medicines Co. is entering an alliance with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc. to help develop the biopharmaceutical company's RNA interference drugs that could potentially help lower cholesterol.

Alnylam's drugs use RNA interference, or RNAi, technology. RNAi therapies work by turning off or silencing disease-causing genes.

Under terms of the exclusive alliance, Medicines will make a $25 million upfront cash payment to Alnylam. There is also the potential for up to $180 million in development and commercial payments if certain milestones are met.

Medicines is based in Parsippany, N.J. Alnylam is based in Cambridge, Mass.

Medicines' stock fell 42 cents to $30.11 in afternoon trading, while shares of Alnylam declined 57 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $23.67.