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IP Update: Recent Patents, Patent Applications Awarded to Johnson & Johnson; Marina; Roche; and More

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Title: Gene Silencing

Patent Number: 8,097,710

Filed: March 22, 2004

Lead Inventor: David Baulcombe, Plant Bioscience

The invention comprises a “method to silence a gene in cells by post-transcriptional gene silencing [by using] short RNA molecules,” according to the patent's abstract.


Title: Multi-Targeting Interfering RNAs Having Two Active Sense Strands and Methods for Their Design and Use

Patent Number: 8,097,715

Filed: May 21, 2008

Lead Inventor: Laurent Pierre Rivory, Johnson & Johnson

The invention, the patent's abstract states, comprises “interfering RNA molecules ... designed and produced with specificity for multiple binding sequences present in distinct genetic contexts in one or more pre-selected target RNA molecules and ... used to modulate expression of the target sequences. The multi-targeting interfering RNA molecules have two strands that target multiple target sites on one or more pre-selected RNA molecules. Such a multi-targeting interfering RNA approach provides a powerful tool for gene regulation.”


Title: Interfering RNA Duplex Having Blunt Ends and 3' Modifications

Patent Number: 8,097,716

Filed: Dec. 18, 2008

Lead Inventor: Jan Weiler, Novartis

The invention comprises “double-stranded RNA compounds with at least one blunt end comprising at least one 3' end” of a predefined formula, the patent's abstract states. The “double-stranded RNA mediates RNA interference.”


Title: Compositions for Bacterial-Mediated Gene Silencing and Methods of Using the Same

Application Number: 20120009153

Filed: Aug. 13, 2010

Lead Inventor: Hongnian Guo, Cequent Pharmaceuticals (Marina Biotech)

“The invention features compositions and methods for delivering small interfering [RNAs] ... to host cells using non-pathogenic strains of Salmonella bacteria containing nucleic acid expression constructs encoding shRNAs,” the patent application's abstract states. “In this process, shRNA expressed by the Salmonella silences or knocks down genes of interest inside target cells. The nucleic acid expression constructs of the invention include an RNA polymerase, an RNA polymerase promoter, and an RNA polymerase terminator. The Salmonella bacteria can also include, on the same or different nucleic acid construct, an endosomal release factor.”


Title: Modulation of the Immune Response

Application Number: 20120009222

Filed: Oct. 27, 2009

Lead Inventor: David-Huy Nhu Nguyen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The invention comprises “lipidoids that can be used to modulate the immune response in a subject,” according to the patent application's abstract. “Lipidoids are prepared by the conjugate addition of an amine to an acrylate to acrylamide. The lipidoids form complexes or particles with an immunostimulatory polynucleotide, which are then administered to a subject. Such compositions have been found to stimulate the production of cytokines and increase both humoral and cell-mediate immune response. The invention also provides pharmaceutical compositions thereof and methods for using the same.”


Title: Methods for Quantitating Small RNA Molecules

Application Number: 20120009580

Filed: Sept. 22, 2011

Inventor: Christopher Raymond, Merck

The invention involves “methods for amplifying a microRNA molecule to produce DNA molecules,” the patent application's abstract states. “The methods each include … using primer extension to make a DNA molecule that is complementary to a target microRNA molecule; and using a universal forward primer and a reverse primer to amplify the DNA molecule to produce amplified DNA molecules. In some embodiments of the method, at least one of the forward primer and the reverse primer comprise at least one locked nucleic acid molecule.”


Title: siRNA Targeting Myeloid Differentiation Primary Response Gene

Application Number: 20120010106

Filed: Aug. 11, 2011

Lead Inventor: Anastasia Khvorova, Dharmacon (Thermo Fisher Scientific)

“Efficient sequence-specific gene silencing is possible through the use of siRNA technology,” the patent application's abstract states. “By selecting particular siRNAs by rational design, one can maximize the generation of an effective gene-silencing reagent, as well as methods for silencing genes. Methods, compositions, and kits generated through rational design of siRNAs are disclosed including those directed to nucleotide sequences for MYD88.”


Title: Cell-Penetrating Peptide Conjugates for Delivering … Nucleic Acids into a Cell

Application Number: 20120010124

Filed: June 16, 2008

Lead Inventor: Bertrand Alluis, Diatos

“The invention provides cell-penetrating peptide/nucleic acid conjugates having the formula P-L-N,” the patent application's abstract states. “Compositions, methods of use, and methods for producing such conjugates are also disclosed.”


Title: RNAi Modulation of MLL-AF4 and Uses Thereof

Application Number: 20120010267

Filed: Sept. 16, 2011

Lead Inventor: Olaf Heidenreich, Roche

“The invention relates to compositions and methods for modulating the expression of the MLL-AF4 fusion gene, and more particularly to the down-regulation of MLL-AF4 by chemically modified oligonucleotides,” the patent application's abstract states.


Title: RNA Interference-Mediated Inhibition of Apoptosis Signal-Regulating Kinase 1 Gene Expression Using Short Interfering Nucleic Acid

Application Number: 20120010272

Filed: March 25, 2010

Lead Inventor: Vasant Jadhav, Merck

The invention relates to “compounds, compositions, and methods for the study, diagnosis, and treatment of traits, diseases, and conditions that respond to the modulation of ASK1 gene expression and/or activity, and/or modulate an ASK1 gene expression pathway,” according to the patent application. “Specifically, the invention relates to double-stranded nucleic acid molecules including small nucleic acid molecules … capable of mediating or that mediate RNA interference against ASK1 gene expression.”


Title: microRNA Polymorphisms Conferring Enhanced Drought Tolerance in Plants

Application Number: 20120011623

Filed: June 14, 2011

Lead Inventor: Dale Wayne Skalla, Syngenta

The invention comprises “methods of identifying a single nucleotide polymorphism associated with a plant trait and methods of identifying a plant having an improved trait,” the patent application's abstract states. “The plant trait is correlated with at least one single nucleotide polymorphism in a microRNA region of a plant genome. Isolated nucleic acids, transgenic plants, and methods of producing the same are also disclosed.”

The Scan

Purnell Choppin Dies

Purnell Choppin, a virologist who led the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has died at 91, according to the Washington Post.

Effectiveness May Decline, Data From Israel Suggests

The New York Times reports that new Israeli data suggests a decline in Pfizer-BioNTech SARS-CoV-2 vaccine effectiveness against Delta variant infection, though protection against severe disease remains high.

To See Future Risk

Slate looks into the use of polygenic risk scores in embryo screening.

PLOS Papers on Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus, Bone Marrow Smear Sequencing, More

In PLOS this week: genomic analysis of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius, archived bone marrow sequencing, and more.