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Benitec Ends Royalty Obligations to CSIRO in Exchange for 10 Percent Stake

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Australian expressed RNAi shop Benitec this week announced that it has renegotiated an intellectual property licensing arrangement with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in order to obtain the full rights to its core technology.

In exchange, CSIRO has been given a 10 percent stake in Benitec.

The original agreement, signed with CSIRO in late 2003, gave Benitec rights to US patent No. 6,573,099, which covers the use of DNA-transcribed dsRNA for gene knockdown, for all human applications (see RNAi News, 12/12/2003).

In 2006, however, that arrangement was amended to reduce the royalties Benitec was required to pay CSIRO related to its therapeutic programs, but handed off control of the intellectual property to the research organization (see RNAi News, 9/14/2006). The deal also gave CSIRO the royalties from a license to the IP Benitec provided to Sigma-Aldrich for use in making and selling research products (see RNAi News, 10/28/2005).

According to Benitec, under the new arrangement it is no longer obligated to pay CSIRO royalties and it has re-acquired the royalty stream from Sigma-Aldrich.

In exchange, CSIRO will be issued 10 percent of Benitec's shares, with half being held in escrow for six months and the other half being held for 12 months.

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