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Patent Office Publishes Three New Patent Applications Related to RNAi, Gene Silencing

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The US Patent and Trademark Office last week published a patent application, assigned to Galapagos Genomics, related to methods of using siRNAs for functional genomic, diagnostic, and therapeutic purposes.

The patent application, entitled siRNA Knockout Assay Method and Constructs, specifically claims “isolated polynucleotides, and vectors including the same, … [that are] useful for down-regulation of specific RNA in cells, including a first sequence of about 17 to about 23 nucleotides, complementary to said RNA, and linked to a second sequence capable of forming a loop when said second sequence is RNA.”

These polynucleotides include “self-complementing” and “single-stranded,” according to the application’s abstract, and include “a third sequence linked by said second sequence where all nucleotides in said first and said third sequences are complementary.”

The application also describes “functional genomic, diagnostic, and therapeutic methods” which involve “reducing the amount of a unique RNA sequence in cells using a vector encoding the self-complementing polynucleotide including a first sequence complementary to said RNA sequence.”

The patent application is number 20030198627, was filed on Aug. 23, 2002, and lists Gert-Jan Arts, of Galapagos, as the lead inventor.

The USPTO also published a patent application that is assigned to Antigen Express and is related to using gene silencing to inhibit Ii expression in mammals.

The patent application — number 20030198626 — is entitled Inhibition of Ii Expression in Mammalian Cells. The patent application’s abstract states that the invention is directed toward the inhibition of Ii expression “for the purpose of altering antigen presentation pathways.”

Included in the application’s claims are an “expressible reverse gene construct, comprising a DNA molecule which encodes an RNA molecule which is complementary to an mRNA molecule which encodes human Ii protein, the RNA molecule having the ability to hybridize with the mRNA molecule thereby inhibiting translation of the mRNA molecule.”

The patent application, filed on April 22, 2002, lists Minzhen Xu as the lead inventor.

A third patent application published by the USPTO relates to the transfection of nucleic acids to the salivary gland using electroporation.

The patent application, assigned to Genteric, is entitled Electroporation-Mediated Transfection of the Salivary Gland, and claims the use of electroporation to enhance the transfection of nucleic acids, including RNAi and antisense molecules, to the salivary gland.

The application — number 20030198625 — lists Hsien Tseng as the lead inventor.

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