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Six RNAi-Related Patent Applications Published By US Patent Office

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Title: Oligonucleotide Compositions with Enhanced Efficacy. Number: 20040054155. Filed: Oct. 2, 2003. Lead Inventor: Tod Woolf, Sequitur (Invitrogen).

The patent application, its abstract states, covers “oligonucleotide compositions [that] … make use of combinations of oligonucleotides. In one aspect, the invention features an oligonucleotide composition including at least two different oligonucleotides targeted to a target gene.”

The abstract adds that the invention “also provides methods of inhibiting protein synthesis in a cell and methods of identifying oligonucleotide compositions that inhibit synthesis of a protein in a cell.”

The application specifically claims oligonucleotide compositions wherein the oligos are antisense or dsRNA.


Title: SiRNAs and Uses Thereof. Number: 20040053876. Filed: March 26, 2003. Lead Inventor: David Turner, University of Michigan Mental Health Research Institute.

According to the patent application’s abstract, the invention “relates to gene silencing, and in particular, to compositions of hairpin siRNAs.”

The invention “also relates to methods of synthesizing hairpin siRNAs and double-stranded siRNAs in vitro and in vivo, and to methods of using such siRNAs to inhibit gene expression,” the abstract notes. “In some embodiments [of the invention], hairpin siRNAs possess strand selectivity,” while in others “more than one hairpin siRNA is present in a single RNA structure/molecule.”

The application specifically claims a method of using a hairpin siRNA molecule to inhibit gene expression in mammalian and human cells.


Title: Stem Cell Differentiation. Number: 20040053869. Filed: Aug. 5, 2003 (PCT Filed: Aug. 17, 2001). Lead Inventor: Peter Andrews, University of Sheffield.

“The invention,” states the patent application’s abstract, “relates to a method to modulate stem cell differentiation comprising introducing inhibitory RNA (RNAi) into a stem cell to ablate mRNAs [that] encode polypeptides … involved in stem cell differentiation.”

The invention also relates to “RNAi molecules, DNA molecules encoding said RNAi molecules, and cells obtained by said method,” the abstract adds.

Specifically claimed by the patent application is an “in vitro method to modulate the differentiation state of a pluripotential stem cell selected from the group consisting of an embryonic stem cell, an embryonic germ cell, or a teratocarcinoma stem cell.”


Title: Method of Regulating Gene Expression. Number: 20040053411. Filed: May 5, 2003. Lead Inventor: Bryan Cullen, Duke University.

The invention, states the patent application’s abstract, relates to “gene expression and, in particular, to a method of inhibiting the expression of a target gene and to constructs suitable for use in such a method.”

The application specifically claims gene expression inhibition method that involves introducing into a cell “a DNA construct comprising a promoter … operably linked to a nucleic acid sequencing encoding an miRNA precursor, [with] said miRNA precursor having a stem loop structure and comprising in said stem a sequence complementary to a portion of an RNA transcript of [a specific] gene.” Once the construct is introduced into the cell, the “nucleic acid sequence is transcribed and processed so that said miRNA precursor is produced.”

This precursor is then processed “so that a mature miRNA is produced and inhibition of expression of said gene is effected,” the application states.


Title: Short Interfering Nucleic Acid Hybrids and Methods Thereof. Number: 20040053289. Filed: April 8, 2003. Lead Inventor: Allen Christian, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, University of California.

The patent application’s abstract states that the invention discloses “siHybrids, [which are] short double-stranded molecule[s] comprised of one strand of DNA and one strand of RNA, annealed together with a 2-based overhang at each 3’ end.”

In addition to the DNA and RNA, the abstract states, siHybrids may contain “PNA or other nucleic acid analogs. siHybrids can silence a gene with greater magnitude and duration than siRNA and they can also silence bacterial genes, which siRNA cannot.”

The abstract adds that siHybrids can be used as pharmaceutical agents, antibiotics, antivirals, fungicides, herbicides, or pesticides.


Title: Modulators of Angiogenesis. Number: 20040053233. Filed: Aug. 20, 2002. Lead Inventor: James Lorens, Rigel Pharmaceuticals.

The invention, the patent application’s abstract states, relates to “nucleic acids encoding angiogenesis regulatory proteins and nucleic acids [that] are involved in modulation of angiogenesis.”

The abstract adds that the invention also relates to “methods for identifying and using agents, including … RNAi ... that modulate angiogenesis.”