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Silence Receives European Patent on RNAi Design Rules

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Silence Therapeutics said this week that it has received a European patent covering novel aspects of a proprietary RNAi structural modification technology.

The patent, which is based on the work of University of Massachusetts Medical School researcher Phillip Zamore, includes claims related to "methods of enhancing the ability of an antisense strand of an RNAi agent to act as a guide strand; RNAi or siRNA agents for enhancing silencing of a target mRNA in a subject; and compositions for siRNA duplexes include[ing] pre-miRNA and shRNA and vectors to perform the methods described herein," Silence said.

"We have consistently built a strong [intellectual property] estate around the Zamore technology in the US and have now extended our global coverage to Europe with the granting of this critical patent," Silence CEO Philip Haworth said in a statement. "With this latest patent grant from the [European Patent Office], we are excited to be able to offer potential collaborators or licensing partners access to this strongly protected Zamore technology in both the US and Europe."

This summer, Silence received a related patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office covering the technology (GSN 7/15/2010).