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Alnylam Licenses IP to RNAx, USPTO Publishes RNAi Patent Applications

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This week, Alnylam announced that its Ribopharma unit has granted a non-exclusive license to the Kreutzer-Limmer patent, a European patent that covers “a medicament containing at least one double-stranded oligonucleotide (dsRNA) designed to inhibit the expression of a target gene,” to RNAx.

Under the deal, RNAx has the right to use the technology covered by the patent to provide research services. In exchange, Ribopharma will receive upfront and annual license fees, as well as royalties on revenues derived from licensed services.

The RNAx license marks the fourth publicly announced deal for the Kreutzer-Limmer patent. Earlier this month, Alnylam said that Cell Signaling Technology, Cenix Bioscience, and Invitrogen took licenses to the patent, which is currently being challenged in Europe by seven companies. (See RNAi News, 1/16/2003). The patent is still pending in the US.


Title: Oligonucleotides Having Modified Nucleoside Units. Number: 20040014957. Filed: May 23, 2003. Lead Inventor: Anne Eldrup, Isis Pharmaceuticals.

The patent application, its abstract states, covers “oligonucleotides and oligonucleosides that include one or more modified nucleoside units. The oligonucleotides and oligonucleosides are particularly useful as antisense agents, ribozymes, aptamer[s], siRNA agents, probes and primers, or — when hybridized to an RNA — as a substrate for RNA-cleaving enzymes including RNase H and dsRNase.”

According to the patent application, “the oligonucleotides of the invention are usable as a single-stranded structure or in dual-stranded structures,” and “exhibit improved properties including binding affin- ity to target RNA.”


Title: Double-Stranded Oligonucleotides. Number: 20040014956. Filed: Feb. 3, 2003. Lead Inventor: Tod Woolf, Sequitur (Invitrogen).

According to the patent application’s abstract, the invention covers “antisense sequences, including duplex RNAi compositions, which possess improved properties over those taught in the prior art.”

The invention, the abstract adds, “provides optimized antisense oligomer compositions and [a] method for making and using [them] both in in vitro systems and therapeutically. The invention also provides methods of making and using the improved antisense oligomer compositions.”


Title: Method for Efficient RNA Interference in Mammalian Cells. Number: 20040014113. Filed: May 29, 2003. Lead Inventor: Dun Yang, University of Cali- fornia, San Francisco.

The patent application’s abstract states that the invention “relates to methods of making RNAi libraries using E. coli RNase III for inhibition of mammalian gene expression.”

Specifically, the patent application states that in the invention, “ E. coli RNase III is used to cleave double-stranded RNA into esiRNA (endoribonuclease-prepared siRNA) that can target multiple sites within an mRNA. The invention therefore provides an RNA duplex pool that can reorganize multiple sites in any particular RNA to silence gene expression.”

The application states that esiRNA mediates “effective RNA interference without apparent non-specific effect in cultured mammalian cells. Sequence-specific interference by esiRNA and the non-specific interferon response activated by long dsRNA are independent pathways in mammalian cells.”

It adds that “esiRNA works by eliciting the destruction of its cognate mRNA,” and that it is useful for mammalian gene function analysis, as well as for functional genomics screens designed to identify genes associated with a particular phenotype for drug and diagnostic target discovery.


Title: Oligonucleotides Having Modified Nucleoside Units. Number: 20040014108. Filed: May 23, 2003. Lead Inventor: Anne Eldrup, Isis Pharmaceuticals.

The patent application’s abstract states that the invention covers oligonucleotides “that include one or more modified nucleoside units. The oligonucleotides are particularly useful as antisense agents, ribozymes, aptamer[s], siRNA agents, probes and primers, or — when hybridized to an RNA — as a substrate for RNA cleaving enzymes including RNase H and dsRNase.”

According to the patent application, the oligonucleotides described are useful as “therapeutic or prophylactic antisense agents, such as ribozymes, as aptamers or as substrates for RNA cleaving enzymes including RNase H and dsRNase including siRNA oligonucleotides.”

The application adds that the “oligonucleotides of the invention are usable as a single-stranded structure or in dual-stranded structures,” and “exhibit improved properties including binding affinity to target RNA.”

 

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