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USPTO Publishes Ten RNAi-Related Patent Applications

Title: siRNA Targeting Testis-Specific Serine Kinase 4
Number: 20070179286
Filed: April 6, 2007
Lead Inventor: Anastasia Khvorova, Dharmacon (Thermo Fisher Scientific)
The patent application’s abstract states that “efficient sequence specific gene silencing is possible through the use of siRNA technology. By selecting particular siRNAs by rational design, one can maximize the generation of an effective gene silencing reagent, as well as methods for silencing genes. Methods, compositions, and kits generated through rational design of siRNAs are disclosed including those directed [at] testis-specific serine kinase 4.”

Title: Use of RNAi Inhibiting PARP Activity for the Manufacture of a Medicament for the Treatment of Cancer
Number: 20070179160
Filed: July 23, 2004 PCT Filed: July 23, 2004
Inventor: Thomas Helleday, Stockholm University
The invention, the patent application’s abstract states, “relates to the use of an agent that inhibits the activity of an enzyme that mediates repair of a DNA strand break in the manufacture of a medicament for the treatment of diseases caused by a defect in a gene that mediates homologous recombination.”

Title: Double-Strand Compositions Comprising Differentially Modified Strands for Use in Gene Modulation
Number: 20070179109, 20070179108, 20070179107, 20070179106
Filed: Dec. 1, 2006
Lead Inventor: Balkrishen Bhat, Eli Lilly
The invention provides “double-stranded compositions wherein each strand is modified to have a motif defined by positioning of beta-D-ribonucleosides and sugar modified nucleosides,” the patent applications’ abstracts state. “More particularly, the present compositions comprise one strand having a gapped motif and another strand having a gapped motif, a hemimer motif, a blockmer motif, a fully modified motif, a positionally modified motif or an alternating motif. At least one of the strands has complementarity to a nucleic acid target.
“The compositions are useful for targeting selected nucleic acid molecules and modulating the expression of one or more genes,” the abstracts add. “In some embodiments, the compositions of the … invention hybridize to a portion of a target RNA resulting in loss of normal function of the target RNA. The … invention also provides methods for modulating gene expression.”

Title: RNA Interference-Mediated Inhibition of Winged Helix Nude Gene Expression Using Short Interfering Nucleic Acid
Number: 20070179104
Filed: Nov. 2, 2005
Inventor: James McSwiggen, Sirna Therapeutics (Merck)
“This invention relates to compounds, compositions, and methods useful for modulating Winged Helix Nude gene expression using short interfering nucleic acid molecules,” the patent application’s abstract states. “This invention also relates to compounds, compositions, and methods useful for modulating the expression and activity of other genes involved in pathways of Winged Helix Nude gene expression and/or activity by RNA interference using small nucleic acid molecules. … Such small nucleic acid molecules are useful, for example, for preventing, inhibiting, or reducing hair growth in a subject or organism, for hair removal in a subject or organism, or alternately for treatment of alopecia, severe combined immunodeficiency, or atrichia in a subject or organism, and for any other disease, trait, or condition that is related to or will respond to the levels of Winged Helix Nude in a cell or tissue, alone or in combination with other treatments or therapies.”

Title: Protected Monomers
Number: 20070179100
Filed: April 16, 2004 PCT Filed: April 16, 2004
Inventor: Muthiah Manoharan, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
According to the patent application’s abstract, the invention “relates to protected monomers for the synthesis of [RNAi] agents.”

Title: Detection of Oligonucleotides by Dual Hybridization
Number: 20070178476
Filed: July 21, 2005
Lead Inventor: David Shima, Eyetech (OSI Pharmaceuticals)
According to the patent application’s abstract, the invention “provides methods and compositions for detecting and/or quantifying modified nucleic acid oligonucleotides. These methods and compositions are useful for detecting and quantifying diagnostic and/or therapeutic synthetic modified oligonucleotides, such as aptamers, RNAi, siRNA, antisense oligonucleotides, or ribozymes in a biological sample.”

Title: Compositions and Methods for Regulating Complement System
Number: 20070178068
Filed: Dec. 22, 2006
Lead Inventor: Sam Reich, Acuity Pharmaceuticals (Opko Health)
The invention, the patent application’s abstract states, comprises “methods and compositions for modulating the human complement pathway by reducing the expression or production of one or more complement pathway proteins and uses for such methods for treating diseases including ocular disease and macular degeneration related disease. The invention also includes active agents for mediating the modulation of the complement pathway including siRNA designed to cause the RNAi-mediated degradation of complement pathway proteins.”

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.