Douglas Fambrough III had good news about his fledgling biotech company when he met with a roomful of investment analysts in a swanky midtown Manhattan hotel on a November morning in 2014.

During a half-hour presentation at the Lotte New York Palace, the chief executive of Dicerna Pharmaceuticals Inc. showed 19 slides that gave an overview of his Watertown, Mass., firm. The 11th one featured a diagram with circles and squiggly lines. It represented a new delivery system for gene-silencing drugs that Dicerna hoped to develop to treat rare disorders.

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