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Five RNAi-Related Patent Applications Published by US Patent Office

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Title: Lipid-Encapsulated Interfering RNA

Number: 20050064595

Filed: July 16, 2004

Inventor: Ian MacLachlan, Protiva Biotherapeutics.

"The … invention provides compositions and methods for silencing gene expression by delivering nucleic acid-lipid particles comprising a siRNA molecule to a cell," the patent application's abstract states.

The particle of the invention, the application notes, comprises an siRNA, a cationic lipid, a non-cationic lipid, and a conjugated lipid that inhibits aggregation of particles.


Title: Method for Design Support of Functional Nucleic Acids.

Number: 20050064484.

Filed: Aug. 31, 2004.

Lead Inventor: Yasuhiro Kasai, Hitachi Software Engineering

"A visual interface that allows a user to designate intuitively a two-dimensional sequence suitable for a target sequence for a functional nucleic acid is provided," the patent application's abstract states. "Secondary structure data of a target mRNA is displayed on a screen, and various information such as characteristic sequences to be effectively influenced by the functional nucleic acid, binding sites for protein motifs, and UTRs are displayed on the secondary structure. A target site of the functional nucleic acid is designated by the user with a pointing device, and the intuitive determination of a most suitable sequence is supported by repeating the design of the functional nucleic acid."


Title: Engineered U6 and H1 Promoters.

Number: 20050064489.

Filed: Sept. 22, 2004.

Lead Inventor: Fang Liang Zhang, Schering-Plough.

According to the patent application's abstract, "several engineered U6 and H1 promoters have been discovered. Using these engineered U6 and H1 promoters, anti-sense or siRNA can be expressed in a regulated way. In the absence of an inducer, the antisense or siRNA is not expressed by the promoters," the abstract adds. "In the presence of an inducer, the antisense or siRNA can be expressed by the promoters."


Title: High-Throughput Screening Methods for Identifying RNA-Binding Compounds.

Number: 20050064470.

Filed: July 16, 2004.

Lead Inventor: Tariq Rana, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

According to the patent application's abstract, the invention "provides methods for high-throughput screening of combinatorial libraries for specific RNA-binding compounds, using fluorescence polarization anisotropy."

The method involves "incubating a plurality of test compounds with a target RNA molecule comprising a fluorescent label under conditions that enable the binding of the test compounds to the target RNA molecule; and assaying fluorescence polarization of the target RNA molecule, wherein an increase in fluorescence polarization of the target RNA molecule as compared to a level of fluorescence polarization of the target RNA molecule in the absence of any test compounds indicates that one of the test compounds binds to the target RNA molecule," the application states.


Title: Methods for Genetic Modification of Hematopoietic Progenitor Cells and Uses of the Modified Cells.

Number: 20050063958.

Filed: Nov. 5, 2004. PCT Filed: July 10, 2002.

Lead Inventor: Geoffrey Symonds, Johnson & Johnson Research Pty Limited.

The patent application, its abstract states, covers "compositions and methods relating to gene therapy, particularly as applied to hematopoietic progenitor cells, to transduced cells and methods of obtaining them, and to methods of using them to provide prolonged engraftment of modified hematopoietic cells in human subjects. The invention particularly relates to ex vivo gene therapy of HP cells for treatment or prevention of HIV infection."

The Scan

Renewed Gain-of-Function Worries

The New York Times writes that the pandemic is renewing concerns about gain-of-function research.

Who's Getting the Patents?

A trio of researchers has analyzed gender trends in biomedical patents issued between 1976 and 2010 in the US, New Scientist reports.

Other Uses

CBS Sunday Morning looks at how mRNA vaccine technology could be applied beyond SARS-CoV-2.

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