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IP Update: Recent Patents, Patent Applications Awarded to CSIRO; Merck; Alnylam; and More

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Title: Delivery of dsRNA to Arthropods

Patent Number: 8,101,343

Filed: July 5, 2002

Lead Inventor: Trevor Lockett, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

“The invention is [related] to methods of gene silencing in arthropods using dsRNA,” the patent's abstract states. “The methods [include] contacting the arthropod with, and/or directly feeding the arthropod, the dsRNA … to deliver the dsRNA to arthropod tissues. It is envisaged that the methods of the invention will have use in determining the biological function of genes in arthropods. Methods of pest control of arthropods, and of protecting arthropods against parasites and predators are provided. Transgenic arthropods expressing dsRNA molecules are also provided.”


Title: RNA Interference by Single-Stranded RNA Molecules

Patent Number: 8,101,348

Filed: July 10, 2003

Lead Inventor: Thomas Tuschl, Max Planck Institute

The invention, the patent's abstract states, “relates to sequence and structural features of single-stranded RNA molecules required to mediate target-specific nucleic acid modifications by RNA-interference, such as target mRNA degradation and/or DNA methylation.”


Title: Method and Medicament for Inhibiting the Expression of a Given Gene

Patent Number: 8,101,584

Filed: March 6, 2003

Lead Inventor: Roland Kreutzer, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

The invention comprises “methods and compositions for inhibiting gene expression using double-stranded RNA molecules that are between 15 and 21 nucleotides in length and are complementary to a target gene sequence,” the patent's abstract states.


Title: Modified siRNA Molecules and Uses Thereof

Patent Number: 8,101,741

Filed: Nov. 2, 2006

Lead Inventor: Ian MacLachlan, Protiva Biotherapeutics (Tekmira Pharmaceuticals)

The invention, the patent's abstract states, “provides chemically modified siRNA molecules and methods of using such siRNA molecules to silence target gene expression. Advantageously, the modified siRNA of the present invention is less immunostimulatory than its corresponding unmodified siRNA sequence and retains RNAi activity against the target sequence. The ... invention also provides nucleic acid-lipid particles comprising a modified siRNA, a cationic lipid, and a non-cationic lipid, which can further comprise a conjugated lipid that inhibits aggregation of particles. The ... invention further provides methods of silencing gene expression by administering a modified siRNA to a mammalian subject. Methods for identifying and/or modifying an siRNA having immunostimulatory properties are also provided.”


Title: Method and Medicament for Inhibiting the Expression of a Given Gene

Patent Number: 8,101,742

Filed: Oct. 31, 2007

Lead Inventor: Roland Kreutzer, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

“The invention relates to an isolated RNA that mediates RNA interference of an mRNA to which it corresponds and a method of mediating RNA interference of mRNA of a gene in a cell or organism using the isolated RNA,” the patent's abstract states.


Title: microRNA Polymorphisms Conferring Enhanced Drought Tolerance in a Plant

Application Number: 20120011623

Filed: June 14, 2011

Lead Inventor: Dale Wayne Skalla, Syngenta

The invention, the patent application's abstract states, comprises “methods of identifying a single nucleotide polymorphism associated with a plant trait and methods of identifying a plant having an improved trait. The plant trait is correlated with at least one single nucleotide polymorphism in a microRNA region of a plant genome. Isolated nucleic acids, transgenic plants, and methods of producing the same are also disclosed.”


Title: microRNA Biomarker in Cancer

Application Number: 20120015049

Filed: Jan. 14, 2010

Inventor: Lin Zhang, University of Pennsylvania

“This invention provides compositions and methods for predicting and improving a chemotherapy response to treat an ovarian cancer,” the patent application's abstract states. “In one embodiment, the invention provides compositions and methods for detecting the expression level of let-7i microRNA to predict a chemotherapy response. In another embodiment, the invention provides compositions and methods for enhancing the expression level of let-7i microRNA to improve a chemotherapy response.”


Title: miRNA Target Prediction

Application Number: 20120015351

Filed: Feb. 22, 2011

Lead Inventor: Inhan Lee, University of Michigan

The invention, the patent application's abstract states, “relates to generation of proteins. In particular, the ... invention provides methods to predict miRNA targets using sequence similarity and thermodynamic stability of miRNA-bridges across both 3' and 5' UTR. Such methods find use in research, diagnostic, and therapeutic settings.”


Title: Pharmaceutical Composition Containing a Drug and siRNA

Application Number: 20120015026

Filed: March 24, 2010

Lead Inventor: Giancarlo Francese, Novartis

The invention “relates generally to the fields of molecular biology, medicine, oncology, and delivery of therapeutic compounds,” the patent application's abstract states. “In particular, the ... invention relates to pharmaceutical compositions containing a hydrophobic drug substance and an inhibitory nucleic acid molecule, such as short interfering RNA, in a single drug delivery system, as well as a process for making and a process for administering the same.”


Title: RNA Sequence-Specific Mediators of RNA Interference

Application Number: 20120015042

Filed: Jan. 18, 2011

Lead Inventor: Thomas Tuschl, Max Planck Institute

The invention, the patent application's abstract states, relates to a “Drosophila in vitro system … used to demonstrate that dsRNA is processed to RNA segments 21 [to] 23 nucleotides in length. Furthermore, when these … fragments are purified and added back to Drosophila extracts, they mediate RNA interference in the absence of long dsRNA. Thus, these ... fragments are the sequence-specific mediators of RNA degradation.

“A molecular signal, which may be their specific length, must be present in these … fragments to recruit cellular factors involved in RNAi,” the abstract notes. The invention “encompasses these ... fragments and their use for specifically inactivating gene function. The use of these fragments enables the targeting of specific mRNAs for degradation in mammalian cells, where the use of long dsRNAs to elicit RNAi is usually not practical, presumably because of the deleterious effects of the interferon response. This specific targeting of a particular gene function is useful in functional genomic and therapeutic applications.”


Title: siRNA Targeting Superoxide

Application Number: 20120015850

Filed: Sept. 13, 2011

Lead Inventor: Anastasia Khvorova, Dharmacon (Thermo Fisher Scientific)

“Efficient sequence-specific gene silencing is possible through the use of siRNA technology,” the patent application's abstract states. “By selecting particular siRNAs by rational design, one can maximize the generation of an effective gene-silencing reagent, as well as methods for silencing genes. Methods, compositions, and kits generated through rational design of siRNAs are disclosed including those directed to nucleotide sequences for SOD1.”


Title: Compositions for Inhibiting Gene Expression and Uses Thereof

Application Number: 20120016004

Filed: March 2, 2011

Lead Inventor: Sudhir Agrawal, Idera Pharmaceuticals

The invention, according to the patent application's abstract, comprises “new structural features that surprisingly improve the efficacy of gene expression blocking molecules. These features include the presence of multiple 3' ends and a linker at the 5' ends. … These features improve the efficacy of the gene expression blocking compounds in a manner that decreases the compound's biologic instability. … This effect has been found to be applicable to both DNA and RNA oligonucleotide-based compounds and to have application in traditional antisense and RNAi technologies.”


Title: Phagocytic Cell Delivery of RNAi

Application Number: 20120016005

Filed: July 17, 2009

Lead Inventor: Dmitry Samarsky, RXi Pharmaceuticals

The invention provides “a particulate delivery system for delivering an RNAi construct to phagocytic cells such as macrophages, comprising various configurations of a complex comprising a phagocytic cell-targeting moiety and an RNAi construct,” according to the patent application's abstract. “The invention further provides methods of making the delivery system, and their uses, such as treating phagocytic cell-associated disease conditions.”


Title: Compositions and Methods for Increasing Cellular Uptake of RNAi Via SID-1

Application Number: 20120016006

Filed: Nov. 17, 2009

Lead Inventor: Gregory Hinkle, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

“The invention relates to a double-stranded ribonucleic acid targeting a systemic RNA interference-defective-1 gene, and methods of using the dsRNA to inhibit expression of SID-1,” the patent application's abstract states.


Title: Small Interference RNA Complex with Increased Intracellular Transmission Capacity

Application Number: 20120016007

Filed: Feb. 4, 2010

Lead Inventor: Dong-Ki Lee, Sungkyunkwan University

The invention comprises “a multiplex siRNA complex and a multifunctional nucleic acid structure complex, which have enhanced intracellular delivery capacity,” the patent application's abstract states. “The siRNA complex and the multifunctional nucleic acid structure complex have a novel structure which can be chemically synthesized in an easy manner for a conventional shRNA system for inhibiting the expression of a plurality of genes, while they can inhibit the expression of a plurality of genes at the same time at increased efficiency compared to the conventional siRNA. Also, they have high intracellular delivery capacity and can specifically inhibit the expression of target genes without causing a non-specific antiviral response, and thus are highly useful as siRNA mechanism-mediated therapeutic agents for treating cancer or viral infection. In addition, the multifunctional nucleic acid structure complex can comprise, in addition to siRNAs, functional oligonucleotides, such as miRNA, antagomiR, an antisense oligonucleotide, an aptamer, and ribozyme, and thus can perform various functions at the same time.”


Title: Optimized Methods for Delivery of dsRNA Targeting the PCSK9 Gene

Application Number: 20120016009

Filed: Sept. 26, 2011

Lead Inventor: Kevin Fitzgerald, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

“This invention relates to optimized methods for treating diseases caused by PCSK9 gene expression,” the patent application's abstract states.


Title: RNA Interference-Mediated Inhibition of BTB and CNC Homology 1, Basic Leucine Zipper Transcription Factor 1 Gene Expression Using Short Interfering Nucleic Acid

Application Number: 20120016010

Filed: March 17, 2010

Lead Inventor: Victoria Pickering, Merck

The invention relates to “compounds, compositions, and methods for the study, diagnosis, and treatment of traits, diseases, and conditions that respond to the modulation of Bach1 gene expression and/or activity, and/or modulate a Bach1 gene expression pathway,” the patent application's abstract states. “Specifically, the invention relates to double-stranded nucleic acid molecules including small nucleic acid molecules ... capable of mediating or that mediate RNA interference against Bach1 gene expression.”


Title: RNA Interference-Mediarted Inhibition of Connective Tissue Growth Factor Gene Expression Using Short Interfering Nucleic Acid

Application Number: 20120016011

Filed: March 17, 2010

Lead Inventor: Victoria Pickering, Merck

The invention relates to “compounds, compositions, and methods for the study, diagnosis, and treatment of traits, diseases, and conditions that respond to the modulation of CTGF gene expression and/or activity, and/or modulate a CTGF gene expression pathway,” the patent application's abstract states. “Specifically, the invention relates to double-stranded nucleic acid molecules including small nucleic acid molecules ... capable of mediating or that mediate RNA interference against CTGF gene expression.”


Title: RNAi Molecule Targeting Thymidylate Synthase and Application Thereof

Application Number: 20120016012

Filed: March 29, 2010

Lead Inventor: Hiromi Wada, Kyoto University

“This invention provides a novel RNAi molecule that can significantly potentiate anti-tumor effects of a 5-FU antitumor agent,” the patent application's abstract states. “The invention also provides an anti-tumor agent comprising such RNAi molecule and a 5-FU anti-tumor agent.”


Title: Rapid Method for Generating Gene Knockdown Model

Application Number: 20120017289

Filed: Oct. 1, 2010

Lead Inventor: Subeer Suhash Majumdar, India's National Institute of Immunology

The invention, the patent application's abstract states, comprises “a novel method of generating knockdown models by electroporation of shRNA construct into the testis. The ... invention provides an ethically superior, non-surgical, user-friendly rapid method for the generation of permanent lines of shRNA knockdown [in] non-human vertebrates. … The invention also relates to the quick incorporation of shRNA gene construct into the germline of a species so that shRNA is inheritable. The ... invention also generates in a single go a variety of knockdown models differentially expressing gene-specific shRNA, depending on differential shRNA gene incorporation in native genome of various male germ cells, so that there is no restriction in the choice of the gene knockdown.”

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.