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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, Opko Health, Ophthalmic Technologies, Isis Pharmaceuticals, Excaliard Pharmaceuticals

Alnylam Issued German RNAi Patent
Alnylam Pharmaceuticals this week said that the German Patent Office has granted a patent from the company’s Kreutzer-Limmer I patent series, which claims siRNA drugs and their use as human therapeutics.
Specifically, the patent — DE 10080167 — covers siRNA 15 to 49 nucleotides in length, Alnylam said.
Alnylam noted that patents from the Kreutzer-Limmer I family have been licensed to four pharmaceutical partners, seven biotech firms, and 15 research reagent and services shops.

Opko Closes Acquisition of Ocular Imaging Firm
Opko Health said this week that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Canadian ocular imaging systems provider Ophthalmic Technologies.
Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"Our team believes there is the potential for powerful synergies between Opko’s therapeutics pipeline and the diagnostic systems and devices used by eye care professionals, and we expect [Ophthalmic Technologies] to continue to play an important strategic role in Opko’s plans for a broadly based ophthalmic business,” Rishard Weitz, president of Ophthalmic Technologies, said in a statement.
Opko is developing the phase III siRNA-based drug bevasiranib for wet age-related macular degeneration, among other RNAi and non-RNAi drugs (see RNAi News, 9/27/2007).

Isis, Excaliard Form Antisense Drug-Development Collaboration
Isis Pharmaceuticals and Excaliard Pharmaceuticals said this week that they will collaborate on the discovery and development of antisense drugs for fibrotic diseases, including scarring.
Under the deal, Isis has granted Excaliard an exclusive, worldwide license to develop certain of its antisense drugs for fibrotic indications. In exchange, Excaliard made an undisclosed upfront equity payment to Isis and paid $1 million in cash for the licensing of a particular gene target.
Isis also stands to receive milestones and royalties tied to the development and commercialization of antisense drugs developed by Excaliard.
Additional terms were not disclosed.

The Scan

Long COVID-19 Susceptibility Clues Contained in Blood Plasma Proteome

A longitudinal study in eBioMedicine found weeks-long blood plasma proteome shifts after SARS-CoV-2 infection, along with proteomic signatures that appeared to coincide with long Covid risk.

Tibetan Study Finds Adaptive Variant Influencing Skin Pigmentation

With a combination of phenotyping and genetic data, researchers document at PNAS a Tibetan-enriched enhancer variant influencing melanin synthesis and ultraviolet light response.

Domestication Linked to Nervous System Genes in Inbred Mouse Strains

Researchers highlighted more than 300 positively selected genes in domesticated mice, including genes linked to nervous system function or behavior in Genome Biology.

ALS Genetic Testing May Be Informative Across Age Ranges, Study Finds

Researchers in the journal Brain identified clinically actionable variants in a significant subset of older ALS patients, prompting them to point to the potential benefits of broader test use.