Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Regulus Therapeutics, a joint venture between Alnylam and Isis Pharmaceuticals, said this week that the US Patent and Trademark Office has issued a notice of allowance for a patent application covering several chemical classes of antisense-based microRNA antagonists.
The application, No. 20060058266, is entitled "Chemically modified oligonucleotides," and claims "composition and methods for making and using chemically modified oligonucleotide agents for inhibiting gene expression," according to its abstract.
"With this initial grant, we have received broad claims covering classes of [antisense-based miRNA antagonists] with certain important chemical features for optimal delivery and in vivo pharmacology," Muthiah Manoharan, vice president of drug discovery at Alnylam and lead inventor on the patent, said in a statement. "Importantly, the inventive nature of these novel compositions was allowed independent of any specific microRNA sequence, thereby providing a broad set of patent claims that add to the innovations Regulus can employ in designing novel microRNA therapeutics."