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EPO to Award Alnylam Patent on Use of RNAi Molecules in Cancer

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Alnylam Pharmaceuticals said this week that the European Patent Office intends to grant the company a patent covering the use of RNAi therapeutics in cancer.

The intellectual property, EP Application No 02702247.4, is derived from the so-called Kreutzer-Limmer III patent series developed by Germany’s Ribopharma, which Alnylam acquired in 2003 and later sold off to Roche (see RNAi News, 7/12/2007).

The IP includes “22 claims covering methods and medicaments for use of an RNAi therapeutic in oncology applications,” according to Alnylam. “The methods claims cover the use of siRNAs to inhibit anti-apoptotic genes in malignant cells … [and] corresponding medicament claims cover siRNA compositions that are less than 25 nucleotides in length having a 3' nucleotide overhang on the antisense strand.”

The IP also claims hairpin siRNAs with an overhang on the 3’ end, the company noted.

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