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Five RNAi-Related Patent Applications Published by the US Patent Office: Sep 17, 2004


Title: Identification of MicroRNAs and Their Targets. Number: 20040175732. Filed: Nov. 17, 2003. Inventor: Tariq Rana, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

According to the patent application’s abstract, the invention “relates to methods for identifying miRNAs and their targets in vivo and in vitro applicable to situations in which one or both of the sequences of the miRNA and the target nucleic acid is unknown. Further, the method applies to situations in which the miRNA/target interaction is stable or unstable,” the abstract adds. “Unstable reactions can be stabilized by the addition of crosslinking agents.”

The invention “also provides methods of modulating the expression of a target gene in a cell by modulating the activity of an miRNA in the cell that targets the gene,” the abstract states.

Title: Centrosom Proteins and Uses Thereof. Number: 20040175721. Filed: Sept. 15, 2003. Inventor: Stephen Doxsey, University of Massachusetts Medical School.

“The invention includes nucleic acids and polypeptides that play important roles in centrosomes and cellular functions involving centrosomes,” the patent application’s abstract states. “In addition, the invention encompasses antibodies, ribozymes, antisense nucleic acids, RNAis, and siRNAs that can be used to modulate the function of the nucleic acids and polypeptides of the invention. Such modulation can be useful in detecting, diagnosing, and treating abnormal centrosome function.”

Title: Compositions and Methods for Inhibiting Expression of a Target Gene. Number: 20040175703. Filed: March 7, 2003. Lead Inventor: Roland Kreutzer, Ribopharma (Alnylam Pharmaceuticals).

The patent application, its abstract states, covers “a double-stranded ribonucleic acid having a nucleotide sequence which is substantially identical to at least a part of a target gene and which is no more than 49, preferably less than 25, nucleotides in length, and which comprises a complementary (antisense) RNA strand having a 1 to 4 nucleotide overhang at the 3’-end and a blunt 5’-end.”

The invention described by the application “further relates to a pharmaceutical composition comprising the dsRNA and a pharmaceutically acceptable carrier,” the abstract states. “The pharmaceutical compositions are useful for inhibiting the expression of a target gene, as well as for treating diseases caused by expression of the target gene, at low dosages (i.e., less than 5 milligrams, preferably less than 25 micrograms, per kg body weight per day). The invention also relates to methods for inhibiting the expression of a target gene, as well as methods for treating diseases caused by the expression of the gene.”

Title: Human RNase III, and Compositions and Uses Thereof. Number: 20040175828. Filed: March 22, 2004. Lead Inventor: Stanley Crooke, Isis Pharmaceuticals.

The patent application’s abstract states that the invention “provides polynucleotides encoding human RNase III and polypeptides encoded thereby. Methods of using said polynucleotides and polypeptides are also provided,” it adds.

The application specifically claims “a method of modulating RNA interference in a cell or tissue comprising [by] contact … [the] cell or tissue with an amount of a modulator effective to modulate RNA interference by at least 50% as compared to a control wherein the modulator is a human RNase III polypeptide or an oligomeric compound targeted to a nucleic acid encoding human RNase III.”

Title: Cellular Delivery and Activation of Polypeptide-Nucleic Acid Complexes. Number: 20040176282. Filed: Jan. 9, 2004. Lead Inventor: Brian Dalby, Invitrogen.

The “invention provides compositions for the cellular delivery of nucleic acids, polypeptides and/or flourophores, molecular complexes comprising fluorescent molecules or moieties, nucleic acids and polypeptides, and methods of making and using such compositions,” the patent application’s abstract states. “Light-activated dispersal of the complexes leads to the intracellular release of one or more nucleic acids and/or peptides from the compositions or complexes. The biological activities of nucleic acids, polypeptides and flourophores may be repressed within the complexes, and these activities are restored upon release from the complexes.”


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