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IP Update: Recent Patents, Patent Applications Awarded to Max Planck, Isis, Monsanto, and More

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Title: RNA Sequence-Specific Mediators of RNA Interference

Patent Number: 8,394,628

Filed: Oct. 4, 2010

Lead Inventor: Thomas Tuschl, Max Planck Institute

The invention, the patent’s abstract states, relates to a “Drosophila in vitro system [that] was used to demonstrate that dsRNA is processed to RNA segments 21-23 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 21-23 [nucleotide] 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 invention “encompasses these … fragments and their use for specifically inactivating gene function,” the abstract adds. “The use of these fragments, or chemically synthesized oligonucleotides of the same or similar nature, 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: Targeting PAX2 for the Treatment of Breast Cancer

Patent Number: 8,394,780

Filed: March 17, 2011

Inventor: Donald Carlton, Phigenix

The patent, its abstract states, claims “methods of prevention and/or treatment of breast cancer in a subject by inhibiting expression of PAX2. In the cancer treatment methods disclosed, the method of inhibiting expression of PAX2 can be by administration of a nucleic acid encoding an siRNA for PAX2. A method of treating cancer in a subject by administering DEFB1 is also provided. Similarly, provided is a method of treating cancer in a subject by increasing expression of DEFB1 in the subject.”


Title: Positionally Modified siRNA Constructs

Patent Number: 8,394,947

Filed: March 3, 2004

Lead Inventor: Balkrishen Bhat, Isis Pharmaceuticals

The invention provides “oligomeric compounds having sufficient complementarity to hybridize to a nucleic acid target and methods for their use in modulating gene expression,” according to the patent’s abstract. “In one embodiment, the oligomeric compounds comprise double-stranded constructs wherein one of the strands [is] capable of hybridizing to a nucleic acid target, and has a plurality of modified ribofuranosyl nucleosides at defined locations. The presence of modifications at such defined positions greatly enhances the properties of the corresponding compositions.”


Title: Recombinant DNA Constructs and Methods for Controlling Gene Expression

Patent Number: 8,395,023

Filed: July 8, 2010

Lead Inventor: Larry Gilbertson, Monsanto

The invention, the patent’s abstract states, “provides molecular constructs and methods … for gene suppression including a gene-suppression element embedded within an intron flanked on one or on both sides by non-protein-coding sequence, constructs containing engineered [microRNA] or miRNA precursors, and constructs for suppression of production of mature microRNA in a cell. Also provided are transgenic plant cells, plants, and seeds containing such constructs, and methods for their use.

“The invention further provides transgenic plant cells, plants, and seeds containing recombinant DNA for the ligand-controlled expression of a target sequence, which may be endogenous or exogenous,” the abstract adds. “Also disclosed are novel miRNAs and miRNA precursors from crop plants including maize and soy.”


Title: Methods for Controlling Pests Using RNAi

Application Number: 20130058890

Filed: Aug. 23, 2012

Lead Inventor: Romaan Raemaekers, Devgen (Syngenta)

The invention, the patent application’s abstract states, “concerns methods for controlling insect infestation via RNAi-mediated gene silencing, whereby the intact insect cells are contacted with a double-stranded RNA … and whereby the double-stranded RNA is taken up by the intact insect cells. In one particular embodiment, the methods of the invention are used to alleviate plants from insect pests. Alternatively, the methods are used for treating and/or preventing insect infestation on a substrate or a subject in need of such treatment and/or prevention. Suitable insect target genes and fragments thereof, dsRNA constructs, recombinant constructs, and compositions are disclosed.”


Title: Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube/Bioactive Substance Complexes and Methods Related Thereto

Application Number: 20130058984

Filed: Aug. 7, 2012

Lead Inventor: Garth Powis, William Marsh University

The invention comprises “single-walled carbon nanotube compositions for the delivery of siRNA and methods of making such single-walled carbon nanotube compositions,” according to the patent application’s abstract. “A single-walled carbon nanotube composition for delivery of siRNA includes a non-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotube, and siRNA non-covalently complexed with the non-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotube, wherein the siRNA solubilizes such non-functionalized single-walled carbon nanotube.”


Title: Liposome-Containing shRNA Molecule Targeting a Thymidylate Synthase and Use Thereof

Application Number: 20130058996

Filed: Aug. 22, 2012

Lead Inventor: Tatsuhiro Ishida, Delta-Fly Pharma

“This method provides a method for delivering shRNA targeting [thymidylate synthase] in vivo,” the patent application’s abstract states. “In addition, the following is provided: an antitumor agent, which comprises short hairpin RNA capable of inhibiting expression of thymidylate synthase by RNAi action; and a PEG-modified cationic liposome, wherein the shRNA is bound to the surface of the PEG-modified cationic liposome and has an overhang comprising at least two nucleotides at the 3' end.”


Title: siRNA Targeting Fructose-1, 6-Biphosphatase 1

Application Number: 20130059760

Filed: Oct. 1, 2012

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 FBP1.”

The Scan

Driving Malaria-Carrying Mosquitoes Down

Researchers from the UK and Italy have tested a gene drive for mosquitoes to limit the spread of malaria, NPR reports.

Office Space to Lab Space

The New York Times writes that some empty office spaces are transforming into lab spaces.

Prion Pause to Investigate

Science reports that a moratorium on prion research has been imposed at French public research institutions.

Genome Research Papers on Gut Microbe Antibiotic Response, Single-Cell RNA-Seq Clues to Metabolism, More

In Genome Research this week: gut microbial response to antibiotic treatment, approach to gauge metabolic features from single-cell RNA sequencing, and more.