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Silence Responds to Alnylam European Patent Claims

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Silence Therapeutics last week publicly took issue with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals' claims regarding a European patent opposition, stating that the European Patent Office had limited the “scope and ambiguity” of an Alnylam-controlled patent.

Earlier this month, Alnylam said that the EPO had upheld the claims of a patent from the Tuschl-I family of intellectual property, EP 1309726, during opposition proceedings launched at the request of Sanofi-Aventis, Silence Therapeutics, and BASF (GSN 3/8/2012).

"We are very pleased with the outcome of these opposition proceedings, which resulted in the claims from the Tuschl I '726 patent being fully upheld,” Alnylam CBO Laurence Reid said in a statement at the time.

Silence, however, issued its own statement indicating that the patent's “claims as originally granted were modified during [an EPO] hearing.

“The effect of the amendments is to reduce ambiguity in the original patent claims, clearly excluding claims for human therapeutic use,” Silence said. “The hearing also restricted the claims to double stranded RNAs between 21 and 23 nucleotides only.”

Silence added that the patent “does not impact” its freedom to operate.

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