"I've been absolutely blown away by the microRNA field and the way it's blossomed," University of Massachusetts Medical School researcher and Nobel laureate Craig Mello said. "There is just one story after another [showing that] microRNAs … are very critical to many aspects of either disease or development."
The RTI hopes to create synergies between investigators focused on basic science researchers and those oriented towards the clinic by putting them in the same space. At the same time, the institute aims to foster research that encompasses all RNA-related pathways, not just RNAi.
While the funding will directly benefit UMMS researcher Michael Czech, it is also expected to be a boon for RXi Pharmaceuticals, which Czech co-founded, since the company holds an exclusive license to the delivery technology for therapeutic RNAi applications.
The USPTO said that since the co-assignees of the Tuschl-I IP “have divergent interests, no one side can reasonably expect or be permitted to control the prosecution of [the] patent application [at issue] to the exclusion of the others.”
UMass further argued in its counterclaim that a key aspect of the disputed RNAi technology — the 3’ overhangs commonly incorporated into siRNAs — was an inherent feature of the RNAi molecules described in a patent application filed prior to another patent application from Max Planck that specifically claims the overhangs.