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Alnylam Says European RNAi Patent Invalidated

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Alnylam Pharmaceuticals this week announced that the European Patent Office has overturned the claims of one of its patents covering compositions, methods, and uses of siRNAs between 15 and 49 nucleotides long.

The patent in question, EP 1214945, is part of Alnylam's so-called Kreutzer-Limmer patent estate, which the company acquired when it bought German RNAi shop Ribopharma in 2003.

According to Alnylam, the ruling is not final and can be appealed. Additionally, the ruling does not affect other patents within the Kreutzer-Limmer intellectual property estate.

"We strongly believe in the inventive matter described in the '945 patent and we intend to take the next step and appeal the decision made today through the EPO's appeal process," Alnylam President and COO Barry Greene said in a statement.

In 2006, the EPO upheld the validity of another patent in the Kreutzer-Limmer family, but only after Alnylam amended its claims.

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