Benitec said this week that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice of allowance for one of the company's pending continuation patent applications derived from its core US patent.
The application, No. 20040064842, is "directed towards a double-stranded synthetic gene [that] comprises multiple copies of a structural gene region having a nucleotide sequence … identical to a nucleotide sequence of a target gene in a eukaryotic cell," Benitec said. "The multiple copies of a structural gene region are separated by a sequence of nucleotides that is 50 [to] 100 or 100 [to] 500 nucleotides in length."
The patent is derived from Benitec's key US patent, No. 6,573,099, which covers gene-expression knockdown using DNA that transcribes double-stranded RNA.
After the '099 patent fell under USPTO scrutiny as part of patent-infringement litigation the company initiated against now-defunct expressed RNAi shop Nucleonics, certain claims within the intellectual property were rejected by the patent office (see RNAi News, 1/21/2010).