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USPTO Publishes Patent Applications: RNAi Therapies for Asthma, Cancer, Alzheimer s

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The US Patent and Trademark Office published on Oct. 9 three patent applications claiming technology related to RNA interference.

The first application, entitled Method and reagent for the treatment of asthma and allergic conditions, claims nucleic acid molecules, including antisense, enzymatic nucleic acid molecules, and RNA interference molecules — such as hammerhead ribozymes, DNAzymes, allozymes, siRNA, decoys, and antisense —”which modulate the expression of prostaglandin D2 (PTGDS), prostaglandin D2 receptor (PTGDR), and adenosine receptor genes.”

The patent application — number 20030191077 — was filed on Aug. 28, 2002, and lists Sirna researchers Kathy Fosnaugh and James McSwiggen as inventors.

The second patent application, entitled Double-stranded RNA and method of use for inhibiting expression of a fusion gene, claims the “specific inhibition of expression of a fusion gene in mammals using a short double-stranded RNA. The dsRNA is approximately 19-24 nucleotides in length, and has a nucleotide sequence which is complementary to at least a part of the target gene. The dsRNA … are useful for treating diseases caused by chromosomal aberrations, particularly malignant diseases such as lymphoma and leukemia.”

The patent application — number 20030190654 — was filed on Jan. 22, 2003. It lists as inventors a number of Ribopharma alums, including the company’s head of R&D Hans-Peter Vornlocher, co-founders Roland Kreutzer and Stefan Limmer, as well as University of Tubgingen researcher Olaf Heidenreich. Ribopharma was acquired by Alnylam in early July.

The third patent application, which lists McSwiggen as the sole inventor, is entitled RNA interference-mediated treatment of Alzhiemer’s disease using short interfering RNA. The application — filed on July 25, 2002 — claims “methods and reagents useful in modulating gene expression in a variety of applications, including use in therapeutics, diagnostics, target validation, and genomic discovery applications associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, the invention relates to small interfering RNA molecules capable of mediating RNA interference against beta-secretase, PIN-1, presenillin-1, and presenillin-2 polypeptide and polynucleotide targets.”

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