Alnylam Pharmaceuticals this week announced that the European Patent Office has said it intends to grant it a patent broadly covering RNAi therapeutics.
The patent is assigned to the Max Planck Society, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research and exclusively licensed by Alnylam.
The patent, EP1309726, includes 19 claims related to the use of double-stranded RNA for RNAi, including methods of reducing the expression of a gene, including those of mammalian or viral origin, with dsRNAs between 21 and 23 nucleotides in length, according to Alnylam.
"In addition, the patent also includes claims covering methods of examining the function of a gene, as well as the use of both unmodified and chemically modified dsRNAs," the company added.
Alnylam said it expects the patent, which is part of the so-called Tuschl-I patent series, to be issued within four months.
"We are very pleased with the EPO's decision to grant claims from Tuschl I, a patent we believe is clearly part of the patent landscape required for the development and commercialization of all RNAi therapeutics," Alnylam President and COO Barry Greene said in a statement.