MDRNA announced this week that the US Patent and Trademark Office intends to issue the company a patent covering an siRNA directed against the junctional adhesion molecule-1 gene.
"JAM-1 is a tight junction protein that plays a key role in maintaining epithelial and endothelial barrier functions, leukocyte transmigration, and platelet adhesion, and also functions as a pro-inflammatory molecule," the company said.
The intellectual property, US patent application No. 20070253956, specifically claims "the use of antagonists to JAM-1 Claudin-4 and occludin to open tight junctions," according to its abstract. "The antagonists include, by way of example, antibodies and antibody fragments that bind to the proteins and small interfering nucleic acids that down-regulate the mRNA encoding the proteins."
The application was filed by intranasal drug-delivery firm Nastech Pharmaceutical, which later became MDRNA (see RNAi News, 8/7/2008).