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Patent and Trademark Office Publishes Three New RNAi-Related Patent Applications

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The US Patent and Trademark Office published last week three patent applications related to RNA interference.

The first two — numbers 20030195138 and 20030194713 — are assigned to Rigel Pharmaceuticals and are directed to nucleic acids encoding the genes BAP-1 (BRCA1 associated protein-1) and NP95 (nuclear protein 95), respectively. Specifically, the patent applic- ations cover methods for identifying and using a number of agents, including RNAi-based ones, to regulate cell cycle arrest by modulation or BAP-1 or NP95.

Both patent applications, which are similarly worded, also claim “the use of expression profiles and compositions in diagnosis and therapy related to cell cycle regulation and modulation of cellular proliferation, e.g., for the treatment of cancer and other diseases of cellular proliferation.

Both patents were filed on April 15, 2002, and list Yasumichi Hitoshi, et al., as inventors.

The third patent application — number 20030194725 — is entitled Methods for identifying and validating potential drug targets. It covers a “systematic method of creating a database of related protein or nucleic acid sequences with annotations of the potential disease associations of the sequences,” according to the patent application’s abstract. It also covers “a method for testing the potential disease associations by means of a biological assay and validating the disease association by either decreasing expression of the sequence of interest or increasing the expression of the sequence of interest.”

The application includes in its claims the use of RNAi to achieve decreased sequence expression, as well as the identification and use of therapeutic RNAi constructs against E3 drug targets for viral infections and cancer.

The patent application was filed on November 19, 2002, and lists as the lead inventor Tsvika Greener, head of bioinformatics at Proteologics.

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