Close Menu

UMass

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.”

The court determined that Alnylam and Max Planck have “not shown a substantial likelihood of success” on the merits of their case.

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.

The plaintiffs' counsel also provided some background on the legal dispute, including details of an early-2004 meeting between the chief executives of Alnylam and rival Sirna Therapeutics that led up to the litigation.

According to RXi's top official, the company first acquired an option to the self-delivering technology because it "overlapped" with its own efforts to develop RNAi drugs that do not require a delivery vehicle.

In addition to assigning responsibility of the institute to the four-member group, rather than a single director, UMMS has also expanded the center's focus to include all RNA therapeutics, not just ones based on RNAi.

Additional court documents filed by Alnylam and Max Planck indicate that the inclusion of 3' overhang data in Tuschl-I patent applications is a primary issue in the legal dispute.

In doing so, the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of Massachusetts have all asked that the court reject Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Max Planck's request for an order blocking any Tuschl-I patent issuance.

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants have sought to include in their patent applications inventions that belong solely to Max Planck and licensed exclusively to Alnylam. While licenses to the IP have been a big moneymaker for Alnylam, some companies have begun looking to alternative RNAi technologies.

Pages

Mauro Ferrari has resigned as president of the European Research Council over its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Financial Times reports.

Researchers in India plan to sequence SARS-CoV-2 isolates from around the country, according to LiveMint.

Stat News reports some health tech startups are laying off or furloughing workers.

In Genome Research this week: indels affecting microsatellites in cancer, analytical approach to find key regulatory elements, and more.