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Benitec

Benitec gained an equity stake in Tacere as part of a 2006 technology-licensing deal between the firms.

The rights to the intellectual property were previously licensed to Tacere Therapeutics, which is developing an shRNA-based HCV therapy with Pfizer.

Last week, the Australian firm disclosed that the UK Intellectual Property Office has received an application to revoke its UK patent No. 2,353,282, which is related to the '099 patent.

The patent fell under USPTO scrutiny as part of patent-infringement litigation the company initiated against now-defunct expressed RNAi shop Nucleonics, and certain claims within the intellectual property were rejected by the patent office

Peter French

Benitec said the deal comprises four $1.5 million notes, each with a duration of two years following the first drawdown. The company may drawdown up to $250,000 a month.

While Tacere is weighing the possible expansion of its pipeline, having met this milestone in its flagship drug-development program, the company's management has set its sights on exiting the field through the sale of the company to a bigger player.

The patent is derived from Benitec's key US patent, No. 6,573,099, which covers gene-expression knockdown using DNA that transcribes double-stranded RNA.

People in the News: Feb 4, 2010

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Palle Schelde, Thorlief Moller, John Riis Mortensen, Finn Cilius Nielsen, Ole Bitsch-Jensen, Daniel Kisner, Michael Forrest, Frank Karbe, Kenneth Galbraith, John Chiplin

The IP fell under USPTO scrutiny as part of a protracted patent-infringement battle Benitec waged with now-defunct expressed RNAi shop Nucleonics.

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